TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County commissioners approved the purchase of property where the new courthouse will be built.
A unanimous vote took place Tuesday morning during their regular meeting that entered the county into nearly a half-million-dollar contract with Brigadier Enterprises at 105 N. Spring St.
The $495,000 that was voted on had already been set aside for the courthouse project, which has been a top priority for Judge Nathaniel Moran since the new decade began.
While there seems to be a design that commissioners have signaled they would approve, the project has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Moran said earlier this year that the court did not feel comfortable putting such a large bond on the public during a time of economic hardship.
An architectural group presented a detailed plan for a seven-story building that spanned more than 230,000 square feet. If a parking garage is added, the total cost of the plan would total roughly $140 million.
The presentation also showed that the courtroom will plan for future population growth, unlike the current building decades ago.
The new facility can hold up to 12 courtrooms while the current courthouse has eight. However, when it was built, it held only half of that. Many of the current courtrooms were made in makeshift areas, such as the 241st District Court under Judge Jack Skeen which used to hold the law library.