EDINBURG – Driving past the town square the construction is evident. The cranes stand out, the hard hat only space is where the new Hidalgo County Courthouse will be erected.
Leaving behind a 60-year-old building that some consider unsafe for multiple reasons and beginning a new chapter for Hidalgo County that will last beyond the 22nd century.
At a ground breaking ceremony, county leaders including Judge Ramon Garcia unveiled a ceremonial plaque and shoveled ceremonial dirt to officially begin construction on the 333,000-square-foot building.
“We all understand and appreciate the need for this new facility,” Garcia said. “I am happy to announce, with the commissioner's court, you have elected people that believe in this facility, believe in the future growth of our county and believe in doing something that will allow us to do some good and better leave something better than what we had when we first got here.”
The new courthouse will have 31 courtrooms, six of which will be shelled for future growth, a Sallyport, secure parking and a central plant.
Judge Noe Gonzalez of the 370 District Court recalls the story when Garcia called him and said “It was going to get done.” Gonzalez had no idea what “It” was, there has been been talks of building a new courthouse for decades.
Gonzalez also said in the midst of all the plans, negotiations and finally approval of construction, the county judge is interested in the new courthouse being the center of the Rio Grande Valley.
It makes logistical sense.
“We service people from all the surrounding counties and our neighbors to the south,” Gonzalez said.
Currently 25 percent of the project is complete and is expected to open 2021. The project is being managed by Jacobs and was designed by HDR Architecture. Total cost for the project will be $150 million and was approved by the commissioner's court ensuring citizens would not be burdened with no additional taxes for construction.
The county is being transparent with the construction of the new courthouse and is updating a website that breaks down how the money is being spent. https://www.hidalgocounty.us/2263/New-Courthouse-Project