Sent on Friday, September 29.
Update on Post-Storm Recovery
The following is an update on Harris County court facilities after the storm:
Criminal Justice Center: The Criminal Justice Center was damaged in three ways: floodwaters, external sewers backing up in the building, and pipes bursting.
The County plans to renovate and repair the building, which will take 9–12 months from the time the County signs a contract for the work. The County hopes to sign a contract for construction before the end of the year, but the full scope of the work has yet to be determined. Once assessed, the extent of the damage will determine the time it takes to get the building back on line and occupied.
Jury Assembly: The County plans to hire an expert/consultant to determine the cause of the damage to the Jury Assembly Plaza. The County is studying options that include rebuilding it where it was, building it above ground on the same lot, or moving it elsewhere. Until the County makes a decision, they cannot provide a timetable on permanent space.
The interim space for jury assembly is on the first floor and the lower level of the County Administration Building at 1001 Preston. Discussions regarding longer-term interim space are ongoing.
Jury service resumes October 16, 2017.
Tunnels: The tunnel between the Jury Assembly Plaza and 201 Caroline is still closed. The County hopes to have it open by the end of October.
Juvenile Justice Center: The courtrooms for three juvenile district courts suffered some damage. The judges have found other space in the building to hold proceedings. The County issued a Purchase Order last week for repair work to commence, and the work should be completed in 4–8 months.
201 Caroline: Twenty of the 22 criminal district courts are settled into 201 Caroline, and the courts were holding dockets within two weeks of the storm.
Civil Jury Trials: Civil jury trials will resume in November.
Upper Floor Elevators: There is no recent change in the status. The three out-of-service elevators are expected to return to service by mid-November. The three elevators on the other side will be upgraded also, hopefully one at a time.
Look for further updates at www.justex.net. Thank you again for your patience.
Hon. Sylvia Matthews
Administrative Judge, Civil Division