Hidalgo County has occupied and is now using the three modular buildings that were purchased to be used as interim facilities during the County’s renovation of their existing courtroom structures which is expected to take 18-24 months. Built by Ramtech and purchased through the Texas Buyboard network purchasing cooperative, two of the buildings are providing courtroom and administrative support space for criminal, civil, and family and child protective services cases, while the third structure is being used for administrative space for the District Clerk’s office.
Located in the center of downtown Edinburg, Texas, Hidalgo County’s decision to renovate their existing courthouse building brought a series of challenges as to how they could secure adequate interim space for their day to day operations during the construction. Because the court’s sally port and holding cell facilities for the prisoners were also at this location, a perimeter security system would have been extremely expensive and time consuming to replicate at a different location. So, in order to minimize the expense and potential for costly delays, Hidalgo County made the decision to have Ramtech install the three modular buildings on a portion of the northwest parking area adjacent to the existing courthouse. Since Hidalgo County was new to the use of modular construction, we were instrumental in providing the necessary assistance in the preplanning phase and while designing and engineering the project.
The modular buildings will provide replacement space for courtrooms, jury rooms, and conference areas for the attorneys and their clients, along with judges chambers, offices for court staff and reporters, and foyers with security at the public entrances. The interior finishes for each facility utilize vinyl covered sheetrock walls, suspended acoustical ceilings, and a combination of carpet and tile flooring. Heating and cooling are accommodated through the use of attic-mounted split systems designed and zoned to maximize energy efficiency. The primary exterior finishes have utilized an earth tone Sherwin-Williams UltraCrete synthetic stucco with a 44-inch metal fascia, providing the buildings with the look and feel of permanent facilities while still having the ability to be relocate them.
Bill Barron works in Business Development for Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has worked at Ramtech for over 20 years serving the Education, Healthcare, and Government Markets.