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Court Facilities Update NOV 2, 2017 11/9/2017

The following is an update on repairs to the buildings in the Harris County Court Complex following a meeting with representatives of the County Engineer and Facilities & Property Maintenance (FPM).

Jury Room

The County has decided to rebuild the jury room in the same location (underground).  It will rebuild it “like for like,” meaning as it was, although the materials may change.  The County may use water-resistant materials in case the facility floods again.  

The Engineers and FPM have not determined how the water entered the structure.  They have ruled out water entering through the front door at street level.  The available video footage shows  rising floodwaters, but not the source of the water.

The best estimate for the jury room is 6-8 months, once the work starts. 

In the meantime, the District Clerk is using temporary space in the County Administration Building, 1001 Preston.  Jury service resumed on October 16, 2017, and continues.  At this time,  jurors are available for jury trials in all courts. 

Criminal Justice Center (CJC)

Expect the work at the CJC to take a year.  The County is working to hire consultants who can help frame the scope of work necessary.  The first part of the consultant’s work will be the “programming stage.”  At this stage, the users/occupants of the buildings will have the opportunity to provide input into how the buildings are going to be changed.  For the CJC, the criminal judges plan to have a meeting of the stakeholders to discuss possible improvements to the building.

Until the consultants are on board, the County does not have a specific timetable.  In addition to upgrading the design of the building, the County needs to move the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP).  The MEP is currently in the basement (although elevated). They plan to move it to an elevated area on the first floor.  This move will cause the building to be shut down for 4–6 months.    The County understands that the judges are eager to return to their courtrooms, even if on a limited basis.  According to the County, all options are on the table. 

The building is 90% remediated (i.e. cleaned).  The elevators in the CJC will soon be in working order.  The problem with the elevators in CJC is not mechanical; it is inadequate capacity and over use.  The County would like to improve traffic flow to ease the elevator load. This may mean locating courts at different locations within the building or adding an escalator.  Again, all options are on the table.

At this time, the County is not considering tearing down the CJC and rebuilding it elsewhere.   

Civil Courthouse - 201 Caroline

Upper Floor Elevators – no change.  Still expect the three out-of-service elevators to return to service by mid-November as promised.  FPM will be upgrading the remaining three elevators one at a time.

Check www.justex.net for further updates.  Again, thank you for your patience. 

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