I came away from this courthouse visit fully convinced that the current courthouse is not up to the needs of a growing Travis County, now with over 1 million residents. The courthouse interior is very dated and inefficient. And, there's just no land for any more additions. Having come to that conclusion on my own, I began a Google search and discovered that Travis County officials agreed. In fact:
"In December 2010, the county purchased land at 308 Guadalupe, a parking lot bounded by Third, Fourth, Guadalupe and San Antonio. The Austin American-Statesman reported the purchase price at $22 million." KUTnews
" 'We plan to use their collective expertise to help us select a delivery method, that is, whether we should solicit formally for a design-build method of construction and financing, or a public-private partnership,' County Judge Sam Biscoe said.
"The plan will ultimately yield a high-rise building at Third and Guadalupe streets."
Fittingly, this site is directly across the street from Republic Square Park. According to the Travis County History website, "Several buildings, including a log cabin, unofficially served as courthouse prior to 1855. The first building constructed specifically for the purpose was a simple, two-story stone structure at 4th and Guadalupe streets, near what is now Republic Park. By the 1860s, the county jail was proving to be inadequate and the public found the Courthouse location inconvenient. In 1876, this first courthouse was abandoned when a larger building was erected, and in 1906 the stone structure was deemed unsafe and was demolished."
And so, eventually, Travis County may return to it's first home. If, and when, the financing for what is projected to be a $300 to $400 million dollar development can be worked out. For more information, see this article from The Austin Chronicle, titled "Courting Change."