By Lisa Kopochinski
GRIMES COUNTY, Texas—Construction continues on the new justice center in Anderson, Texas.
With a completion date slated for early 2021, steel was recently erected for the new building that will be adjacent to the Sheriff’s Office. The $10.4 million facility will have court space, offices for the District Attorney and other county staff. Collier Construction is the general contractor.
“It’s going to allow us to expand some and catch up on our back log of cases and help the sheriff’s department out moving, transporting prisoners are going to be easier,” said Al Peeler, Grimes County building maintenance director and project manager.
Added Chief Deputy Todd Greene with the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office, “We just really think it’s going to improve the efficiency of the courtroom the criminal justice aspect that’s over there with having all the departments under one roof and one building.”
More than a decade in the planning, the new center will house a number of county offices, staff for the District Attorney’s office, county human resources, a commissioner’s courtroom, as well as a new district courtroom.
Grimes County Judge Joe Fauth said county residents will benefit from this new facility with no new taxes. At the new district attorney’s office, crime victims will no longer have to wait in a converted storage shed to speak with investigators. The inside contains furniture, a television and a living-room type atmosphere for victims. The other half of the space is an office for Grimes County Crime Victim Coordinator Brenda Williams.
“It will give us adequate space for our victims to be close to the courtroom,” said Williams, in a statement. “[We do] not have to worry about security because security will be right there in the courtroom area.”
Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said the new 32,000-square-foot building will have a secure tunnel so inmates can be walked over for court, rather than driven to the main courthouse downtown.
“In today’s time we have to be more and more secure in our public events, especially courtroom. I think the public is excited about this.”