Thursday, December 2, 2021

Denton County to hold grand opening for new courthouse

Photo courtesy of Denton County

Next week, the Denton County Commissioners Court will host a dedication and grand opening for the new Denton County Administrative Courthouse at 1 Courthouse Drive, near Loop 288 in east Denton.

The public is invited to join Denton County in the dedication, refreshments and tours beginning at 1:30 p.m., according to a county news release.

As part of the Denton County Administrative Complex, the new building brings many staff members together in one location from the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square and the Carroll Courts Building. The four-story building houses the County Judge, Commissioners Court, County Administration, Budget, County Auditor/Accounts Payable, County Treasurer, Purchasing, Community Relations, Human Resources, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and Precinct 1 Constable, Economic Development and Aide to Commissioners Court.

Also included is the 2020 room on the third floor, which will be available for use by the public through a reservation via the Aide to Commissioners Court. The room features seating for 186 at tables and chairs with a podium, electronic screens for presentations, a food service area and access to a balcony. 

The new facility not only consolidates county administrative personnel, it also allows Denton County to expand the judicial system, which continues to grow. Since 2011, Commissioners Court has approved the addition of six judicial courts including: 431st District Court in 2011, 442nd District Court in 2015, 462nd District Court in 2019, 467th District Court in 2021, 481st District Court and Probate Court No. 2, both as of Jan. 1, 2022.  

“We are repurposing the Carroll Courts Building to house additional courts. While it is under renovation, the 367th District Court will relocate to the second floor of the Courthouse-on-the-Square,” Denton County Judge Eads said. 

The Courthouse-on-the-Square currently houses the Denton County Historical Museum as well as the Office of History and Culture.  

Commissioners Court meetings, which are currently being held at the Courthouse-on-the-Square, will move on Nov. 9 to the new Denton County Administrative Courthouse when audio and visual equipment installation is complete and operational. 

The new Administrative Courthouse, which covers 95,794 total square feet, sits on 10 acres in a larger complex that includes Denton County Public Health, Facilities Administration, Election/Technology Services, Emergency Services and Adult Probation.

Designed with a traditional government building front complete with clock and a dome with the finial topping out at 132 feet, the building also features a forward-looking design in the back with glass as a nod to the future. On the back or north side of the Courthouse, the grounds feature an outdoor amphitheater with outdoor restrooms for public use in addition to a large grassy area, an outdoor pond complete with a recycled iron bridge featuring memorials to fire and police and areas for the public to sit under trees.

“The new Denton County Administrative Courthouse includes features from the original Courthouse-on-the-Square along with an eye to future growth,” Eads said. “We designed this building to last 100 years with room to expand as needed.”

The entire campus features 183 trees and 50 types of native species to create a natural, self-sustaining environment. The selected plants attract pollinators as well as neighboring geese and ducks who now call the pond home. 

 “We also incorporated features that would make this an attractive place for the public to plan outdoor and indoor events in the months and years to come,” he said. “It has been enjoyable seeing the brides and families having photos taken on the grounds.”

Funds to pay for the building, estimated at $45 million, were part of a 2008 bond election. Construction began in November 2018, continuing at a slower-than-expected pace during the COVID-19 pandemic with labor and material shortages and weather delays including the significant freeze in February 2021, with substantial completion prior to move-in in September 2021.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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