6/29/2003 County hub needs facelift: Courthouse
restoration special meeting topic
COOK/Daily Sun Staff
The wiring is old and the plumbing needs work. A part
of one floor needs to be put back like it once was. And it's going to cost a
It sounds like the work you might need done to your
home but, in this case, these are some of the areas needing attention at the
Navarro County Courthouse -- areas that have an estimated cost of $4 million to
County Judge Alan Bristol said commissioners will meet
Monday to consider the next step for renovating the courthouse following two
consecutive, and unsuccessful, attempts to secure state funding for the repairs.
The meeting is set for 1 p.m. at the courthouse.
"What the commissioners court will have to decide is if
we want to authorize these architects to go ahead with this," Judge Bristol
said, noting that any successful future grant attempt is likely two years down
Judge Bristol said representatives from 1113
Architects, an architectural firm based in Austin, will be present to discuss
where the county wants to go in its efforts to fix the aging building.
He said the firm believes the past two attempts at
state funding have failed because of the county's reluctance to put back an
original balcony from the third floor that once overlooked the second floor
"And I pretty much agree with them," Judge Bristol said
Friday. "I think not having (balcony restoration) in our proposal has kept our
(grant) score down and kept us from getting approved."
The balcony, now long gone, would eat up a lot of
office space in the middle portion of that third floor, the judge said. That's
an issue to consider given space constraints already present in the courthouse.
The most-likely affected areas would be at least a
portion of the adult and juvenile probation departments and the extension
Perhaps even as important, when electrical and plumbing
repairs are in progress, Judge Bristol said it will require everyone in the
courthouse to move out.
"That means finding space for courthouse operations,"
There is also exterior termite damage on the front of
the courthouse that needs repair.
As always, money will be part of the discussion --
especially during a slumping economy and with a budget that is tweaked almost
daily to keep it balanced after an earlier, across-the-board pay cut of 7.5
percent for all county employees.
Even if the state were to approve Navarro County for
courthouse restoration money, the county would have to come up with 20 percent
of the cost as matching money for the program.
Judge Bristol said some work already done, such as
recent roof repairs, would qualify as "in kind" funding for the 20 percent and
other sources of funds might be able to be found.
"That's why I wanted to have this public meeting," he
said. "I want this to be above board and out in the open.
"I just think we've patched and patched and patched for
too long and now it's time to consider fixing (the courthouse) right."