Hidalgo County Commissioners approve design for new county courthouse

Hidalgo County Commissioners approve design for new county courthouse
Hidalgo County
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 4:47pm

Hidalgo County Commissioners voted to approve the schematic design for a new County courthouse.

The schematic design includes the first set of drawings and elevations and the probable cost estimate. According to ERO Architects, the firm contracted to prepare the schematic design, the estimated cost for the 463,804-square-foot, 10-story building is $157 million – $127.7 million for the building, site and contingencies and $29.3 million to cover other expenses, such as furniture, technology and security equipment.

A major component of the design is that it provides for Texas Jail Commission-licensed detention facilities on the ground floor and for each court. This will keep inmates awaiting trial separated from courthouse staff, jurors, and the general public. Currently, inmates mingle with the general public in hallways, elevators, stairways and lavatories.

The design also includes energy management systems, escalators and elevators for better and more secure access to each floor, and space on the top two floors for six additional courts to accommodate the County’s needs for the next 75 years.

Judge Ramon Garcia stated the County has outgrown the current courthouse, adding in addition to the various inadequacies of the building, there also are very real health and safety issues – including potential toxic substances – that could be exposed in attempts to bring the building up to code.

The Commissioners took no action regarding the next steps, instead asking an item be placed on the agenda for the Monday, June 30, Commissioners Court meeting.

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