I assembled the Fort Bend County page just yesterday, but now it's so "last year." Regardless, I wanted to photograph the newly completed Fort Bend County Justice Center and related structures. I also decided to make a second visit to the historic courthouse in downtown Richmond. Frankly, my learning curve on this project is causing me to re-visit most of the counties I photographed in 2009 and 2010. At this rate I'll have to change the website to "508TexasCourthouses!"
Anyhow, back to Fort Bend County. The historic courthouse was enlarged in 1935 and 1957. In 1988 a 7 story courthouse annex was constructed across the street from the historic courthouse. Numerous other county building were added over the years, but the population of this Houston suburb just keeps growing and so, in 2006, voters approved a bond issue for a huge new Justice Center, along with a County Jail and other Sheriff Offices.
The site for these new facilities in about a mile or so southeast of the historic courthouse in downtown Richmond.
Here's a photograph taken today:
By the way, Ransom Road is not spelled with an "e." Not that it's called Ransom Road anymore. The street signs now call it Williams Way Blvd.
The new county facilities face the Brazos River on the east. Between the Justice Center and the river is a state archeological landmark: the site of the home of Mirabeau B. Lamar on the west bank of the Brazos.
Lamar's house is long gone, but the scenic view remains (see below).
Given the historic importance of the Brazos River to Texas, it's a shame that the river today is virtually ignored as it passes through Richmond. The new US 59 (10 lanes wides) crossing of the Brazos is accomplished without a visible "bridge." If you didn't know it was there, you'd never know you'd just crossed the river. Yet, it was on the banks of the Brazos that Fort Bend began.
Fort Bend County, TX- Fort Bend County Commissioners Court joined by numerous other Elected Officials "cut the ribbon" yesterday at the new Fort Bend County Justice Center in Richmond, TX. During ceremonies, the Fort Bend Color Guard presented the flags of the United States, Texas and Fort Bend County. Following the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, employees were given an exclusive "sneak peak" of the new facility. County Judge Bob Hebert stated,
"This is a beautiful, well designed building, completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Once we complete the move-in I believe our citizens will be well-pleased with their new justice center."
JE Dunn Construction served as the General Contractor for the project and Pierce, Goodwin, Alexander & Linville (PGAL) served as the county's Design Professional. The Justice Center was designed to offer the flexibility of phasing in courtrooms over time as the population and judicial needs continue to grow. The new Justice Center includes 18 courtrooms, District Clerk Offices, County Clerk offices, Grand Jury Space, Bailiff Area, Law Library, District Attorney offices, a new and much improved Jury Assembly and a tunnel connecting the facility to the Fort Bend County Jail. For the first time in many years, an adjacent parking garage will provide adequate parking space for those visiting the Justice Center.
County Departments will move in the weekend of July 1-4, 2011 and opening day for the public is on July 5, 2011. A
Grand Opening Ceremony for the public will take place mid-August once all of the departments have the opportunity to adapt to their new space. Although the departments that are moving will have a new physical address, their mailing address, phone and fax numbers will all remain the same!