WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County commissioners have compiled a long list of needs for improvements to the Wichita County Courthouse, Courthouse Annex and Iowa Park Annex, but funding for the $10 million projects is still up in the air.
There’s a chance it could affect taxpayers, but commissioner Mark Beauchamp said the money could come from somewhere else.
The improvements range from sidewalk replacement to moving entire offices.
With the construction of the new Wichita County Law Enforcement Center, the opportunity for new tenants in the current Sheriff’s offices arises.
The plan is to move the Wichita County District Clerk from the 3rd floor.
“In a way, we’ll have to see how it goes, because with us being so close to the courts up here, it’s made it real simple when we’ve had to go to court, but now if we’re down on the first floor and they call us it’ll just take a little longer to get to court,” Wichita County District Clerk Patti Flores said.
That’s one possible project the commissioners are considering in a long list of improvements.
“That includes things such as making improvements with the exterior of this building, with the entranceway, it’s some security changes,” Beauchamp said. “Now we’re looking at the potential of funding the various project and the needs throughout the county.”
It’s in the early stages and Beauchamp is unsure yet of where the funds will come from.
“It may be able to be funded with our permanent improvement fund, I don’t know yet, I’d be lying to you if I told you I knew because I haven’t heard back from the bank what the financing would be other than we can get a very low rate right now and it looks like a good time to borrow a substantial amount of money,” Beauchamp said.
Whether it’s remodeling the 78th District Court suite or updating technology in the courtrooms, one thing’s for sure as Beauchamp and Flores believe there needs to be more room when it comes to jury selection day on Mondays.
“When they actually get picked as jurors, if they’re standing out in the hall because they have no place to go and they overhear conversations, that’s not good,” Flores said.
“One of the things that we would do would be build a new jury assembly room, the jury assembly room would house about 250 people,” Beauchamp said.
More space, updates for the outdated and improving the overall look, but first, they’ve got to get the money.
One improvement for sure going to happen with or without the $10 million is updating the elevators in the courthouse.