Fort Bend County Justice Center moving into new facility

July 5, 2011 4:14:21 PM PDT
The most expensive building ever constructed in Fort Bend County opened its doors for business on Tuesday. The transition of more than a dozen departments into the county's new state-of-the-art justice center was quite an undertaking.

It's move-in week here at the new Fort Bend County Justice Center. After more than two years of construction, the new facility is complete.

"It feels like the first day of school, new building, new places, can't find your room -- that kind of thing," Fort Bend County court clerk Debbie Monk said.

The new Fort Bend County Justice Center is the place which court clerks, judges, attorneys and others will now call home. It is located just across the street from the Fort Bend Sheriff's Office and jail. The $73 million facility was constructed with bond funds approved by voters in 2006.

"It came in on time and under budget," Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert said.

At nearly 274,000 square feet, the new facility brings all courts and the DA's office under one roof instead of five.

"It's all in that building, so the chance of going to the wrong building, which happens every day under the old system, is gone," Hebert said.

It's a lot different than the old courthouse, which was first built in 1909, but marked growth countywide necessitated a facility bigger and better. The width of the roadway to and from the new justice center is being doubled.

Parking, which had always been a problem around the old faculties, should be an issue no longer. With construction of this garage, there are almost 1,200 spaces there.

"I think everything is gonna flow a lot smoother. I really do," 400th District Judge Cliff Vacek said.

Showing off new audio and visual equipment, Vacek calls the courtrooms "state of the art."

"I think it's gonna work out very, very well," he said.

The wheels of justice Vacek notes should move a little more swiftly now.

The county is taking much of this week to get moved in and up and running. Trials begin next week.

The old buildings will be used now for other county offices. The oldest court room will be restored thanks to a $4.5 million state grant.


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