Amarillo Gets A New District Courthouse; Hopefully This One Lasts
Earlier today, Potter County officials broke ground on the site of what will be a brand new district courthouse.....right across the street from the current district courthouse.
The geometric structure has been said to be (according to county officials) an insufferable lemon since the day it was built. By their accounts, our district courthouse is purported to be the most expensive building in the county to maintain and upkeep. And honestly... for me, it's not really an inspiring example of architecture at any time of the day or night. I mean, that dated façade was definitely already not great when it was built in 1985.
Let me give you something to compare to: Below is the Hopkins County Courthouse in Sulphur Springs, Texas, dated back to 1895. Sure, Hopkins County is much smaller than Potter County, but if they can have a nice-looking building that is still got some dignity about it and has been easily maintained for that long....surely we can have the same thing, right?
That's the goal. You want a building that will stand the test of time. Buildings are built and then they stand. In one piece. Not crumbling at the slightest breeze. Granted, Hopkins' courthouse probably doesn't have all the bells and whistles a shiny new building does, but that's where retrofitting comes in.
For crying out loud, even the current Potter County Courthouse was restored a few years back (and is a great example of historic Art Deco). Oh and it has a really nice lawn, too...
The new district courthouse is supposed to take up the entirety of the city block with two sections. One section will consist of five stories, and the other section will provide 158,000 square feet for county operations and will incorporate more modern exterior of stone, brick, and glass; in other words, it won't be mistaken for a Cold War-era corporate bunker.
The new building will also provide separate entrances for the public, law enforcement, and judges. As for the old building... well... the lot will make a great, bland, and uninspiring space for 220 cars.
So how much is this going to set back the tax-paying folks who live on the north side of town? Looks like it'll run up to $64 million price tag to be paid by bonds over the next two decades.
It's running on a creatively engineered budget that's at a $2 million deficit. According to officials, it will be a "State of the Art" building and the cost-cutting measures shouldn't be noticeable to the public. Wasn't the current one supposed to be state of the art too? Didn't the last building have cost cuts too? That's progress, right?
Well....hopefully, it can last longer than a measly 36 years...