Sometimes after labor day, this year residents will see the Hidalgo County Courthouse project begin. Scheduled for 30 months and to be at or under $150 million in costs, the plan is for the new courthouse to last for the next 50-60 years. Contractors are scheduled to be on site the day after labor day with groundbreaking anticipated to be in September or October.
For years, controversy surrounded the project, ranging from costs to needs to aesthetics as well as who was actually build and design. The current look and costs are planned to incorporate aspects of the region or pay homage to Hidalgo County as many have said and be at or below budget while being a landmark able to be seen from miles away off of the expressway driving down into the area. The current courthouse while functional has become a heavy annual maintenance cost that is difficult to control.
Location, which was one of the big questions for the new courthouse ended up staying where it currently is in downtown Edinburg, Texas where the county seat is located as the costs would have been astronomical to move the site.
The current growth rates for the county and region were taken into account as anyone that has visited the courthouse lately can tell with the long lines and crowded hallways that the courthouse is way overburdened with people and work.
At 400,000 square feet, the new courthouse is designed to hold close to 3,000 people. It will be a seven-story building where current plans indicate that one to two of the top floors will be kept empty ready for the population growth and expansion forecasted and projected in the future. Specifically, the ability to add up to 6 more courtrooms.
Heading up the project are the Morganti Group of Houston, who is the builder, HDR, an architecture, engineering and consulting firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, as well ERO Architects of McAllen, a co-designer of the project.
As to the current courthouse, there is no current plan. Discussions have surrounded demolition, but that remains to be decided upon.
If all goes according to plan, sometimes in spring 2021 we should be seeing the new courthouse in action. Despite many naysayers and objections, this necessary project will be going forward and the future is upon us for the county.