Master plan reveals opportunities to restore Courthouse

Savanna Gregg/Burnet Bulletin
Work on a new Burnet County Courthouse Master Plan has pointed out the need to rework the elevator so it goes to the basement, where the Precinct 1 JP office is located. Customers currently can call the JP office to have a clerk assist them on the first floor instead.

 

 

 

 

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

A preservation architect has completed nearly 60 percent of a master plan for the Burnet County Courthouse and already has identified a number of areas where the county could improve the building by taking advantage of available grant funding, County Judge James Oakley said.

Burnet County contracted with Architexas earlier this year to draw up a new Courthouse Master Plan. The county received a $44,900 grant from the Texas Historic Commission's Historic Courthouse Preservation Program and has contributed matching funds of $5,000 for a grand total of $49,900.

The Master Plan includes an evaluation and assessment of existing conditions and proposed recommendations for restoration, including current and proposed site and floor plans.

Architexas also will propose options to fully restore the Courthouse to its original 1937 Art Deco look and alternatives to design and construction that would accommodate any county budgetary or physical constraints. The final plan is expected to be completed by Feb. 1, 2020, according to a contract between Burnet County, THC and Architexas.

“We must have a new Courthouse Master Plan in place before we can go after any grants that would help us pay for preservation and restoration at the Courthouse,” Oakley said.

One major issue brought up through the Master Plan is the lack of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance for the Courthouse elevator, which does not go down to the Courthouse basement, where Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Roxanne Nelson has her office.

“In talking to them, we have identified a preliminary design that for a new elevator that would go to the basement,” Oakley said. “The components on the elevator are dated from the 1970s, so it needs to be redone anyway and that would make the basement fully ADA compliant.

“We have working around that with the public by bringing the business of that office up to meet customers on the first floor, rather than making people walk downstairs when they need assistance. We have not had any complaints so far, but it is an issue which needs to be addressed.”

Find the rest of this story in the Wednesday, Dec. 4 issue of the Burnet Bulletin, the newspaper of record for Burnet County. To offer a comment or news tip, email lew@highlandernews.com. To subscribe to the newspaper, call 512-756-6136 or click the "E-Edition" like at the top right-hand corner of the page to subscribe to our online edition.

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