The Cornerstone Fund

In March, 1989, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis began a fundraising campaign to pay for a major restoration of the civil and municipal court buildings in the City of St. Louis. The City had selected the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum to prepare the master plan for the detention and judicial facilities. Lawyers were asked to contribute to the cost of renovation, restoration or replacement of these buildings, and otherwise improve the administration of justice in the 22nd Judicial Circuit. A goal of One Million Dollars was set to provide seed money for these projects.

Lawyers answered this call for help and the Saint Louis Bar Foundation received the contributions to the fund, and has paid out of the funds raised to underwrite all of a part of the cost of a long list of projects associated with these renovations. It might be well to recall some of these improvements, which included:

  1. renovating and furnishing the Jury Assembly Room.
  2. design and construction of air conditioning for the Civil Courts concourses.
  3. restoration of tables in jury deliberation rooms.
  4. building signage
  5. renovation of the 12th floor lounge and exterior promenade.
  6. renovation and furnishing of attorney/client interview rooms.
  7. telephone booth accessories.
  8. marble cleaning in the lobby and at elevators
  9. public seating in courtroom floor concourses
  10. weather vestibules at building entries, and
  11. security stations and other improvements in the 1st floor lobby necessary for reopening the east side entry to the building.

Lawyers raised more than the One Million Dollar goal, considering the return on funds prior to their distribution, and today have approximately $100,000.00 in unexpended funds.

On January 23, 2009, the Saint Louis Bar Foundation Board welcomed the Hon. Thomas C. Grady, Presiding Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit, who, speaking for the Court, addressed current needs. Jury Division 29 has been moved from the Eighth Floor to the Fourth Floor but does not have a Jury Box there. A standard three-tier jury box similar to those in the rest of the Civil Courts Divisions would be constructed. The Jury deliberation room will be on the Fourth Floor mezzanine, but has no toilet facilities. The plan is to construct one ADA compliant toilet and a second standard sized restroom for these jurors.

The original cost estimate for all of this work was $275,000.00. The Court has some money in its budget that can be used for these projects, but has requested, and the Foundation has approved, the funding to the extent of its remaining Cornerstone Funds to assist with this work, with all of the safeguards previously used in making distributions from the Fund.

On January 23rd the Foundation Board appointed a committee to meet with the architects to see exactly the scope of work planned and determine what, if any, cost savings might be made by adjusting the scale of work. Robert Sears headed this committee and reported to the Board that up to date cost estimates were necessary to proceed.

The Foundation Board, at its meeting of February 20th, voted to make a $3,000 Grant to the 22nd Judicial Circuit to cover part of the cost of obtaining cost estimates necessary to proceed with the decision for the scope of work to be covered by remaining Cornerstone Fund and available Court dollars. No Cornerstone dollars will be spent for anything other than the actual costs associated with the construction.

This will end the work of the Foundation with respect to the Court improvements for which the Fund was established in 1989. It does, however, give you one final opportunity to make a contribution to this effort. With designated gifts to the Foundation, marked for the Cornerstone Fund, you have a last opportunity to be a part of the completion of these projects. We will make sure that every dollar you give to this effort will not be used for any other purpose, and may well insure that the entire project as outlined by the current plans can be completed. Just mark your contribution for “Cornerstone Fund”, and thank you very much.


James E. McDaniel
President, Saint Louis Bar Foundation