Master Plan Moving Forward to Restore Texas Courthouse

By Lisa Kopochinski

BURNET, Texas—The master plan to restore the 82-year-old Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet is approximately 60 percent complete.

Preservation architecture firm Architexas has identified numerous areas where the 1937 courthouse— which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000—could be improved by the county if it takes advantage of available grant funding.

According to a recent article in the Burnet Bulletin, Burnet County contracted with Architexas in early 2019 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 outlines an evaluation and assessment of existing conditions and proposed recommendations for restoration, including current and proposed site and floor plans.

“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,” said County Judge James Oakley in a statement.

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,” said 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.”

With the final plan expected to be completed by February 1, 2020, Architexas is proposing 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 contract is between Burnet County, the Texas Historical Commission and Architexas.