County surveys historic buildings for asbestos, lead paint

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 28, 2013 at 12:28 a.m.

Before Victoria County can move forward with plans to expand courtroom space, three historic buildings will be evaluated for asbestos and lead paint.

The Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to spend $18,500 with Professional Service Industries Inc. on three hazardous materials surveys on the historic county jail, 210 W. Constitution St.; the 1842 spa building, 103 S. Glass St.; and the historic firehouse, 209 W. Forrest St. They also approved hiring Rawley McCoy to study the courtroom expansion project and compare costs.

McCoy's study is not to exceed $20,000.

Both studies put the county on track to add space for the crowded judicial system where eight judges share four courtrooms.

Along with the options the court considered during the capital improvement workshop last week, they are also looking at a few other real estate opportunities.

County Judge Don Pozzi said his goal is to keep the additional courtrooms in the same block as the courthouse, 115 N. Bridge St.

"I can't sit here and say that we absolutely have to do something with (the buildings)," Pozzi said. "We can let them deteriorate to nothing. The bottom line is: If that occurs and you have to level them, that doesn't change what you have to do."

The jail study would cost $12,000, the spa study would cost $4,000, and the firehouse would cost $2,500, according to information from the county.

Commissioner Kevin Janak noted the spa building was built before the Civil War.

Pozzi said that is the building the Texas Historical Commission is urging the county to renovate. However, Pozzi said the court is looking at all options.

He said the study will help the court determine the exact costs to remove the hazardous materials from the buildings.

The old jail is currently used by the sheriff's office, and the firehouse is used by the county maintenance department.

County Administrative Services Director Joyce Dean said the study does not expire and is similar to the study done at the airport before several buildings were demolished.



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