by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND COUNTY--The doors to the new County Courthouse will open in a little more than a month so NewsWest 9 sat with County Judge Mark Bradford to talk about the project.
If one conclusion could be drawn the conversation, it's that there's a whole lot of positive already coming out of the new courthouse building, even with construction and renovations still ongoing.
"So far, we are pretty much on schedule and certainly excited about what the public will see," Bradford said.
The appearance of the Midland County Courthouse has changed a bit in the last 80 years. But come September, it's going to be a whole new ball game.
"The current Midland County Courthouse, located on Wall Street, will close at noon on the 16th of September. The new Midland County Courthouse, located at 500 North Lorraine, will open September 27th," Bradford said.
Bradford explained that Midland County taxpayers have good reason to celebrate, since their elected officials swear by this saying, "We live within our means. That building will have no debt on it. It's a cash transaction. There's no bonding."
Having been there since 1930, they've found some pretty interesting things while cleaning out the building.
According to Bradford, "One of the employees said it best. We have found everything but Jimmy Hoffa. "
Built in 1984, the Heritage Center had to go through some major modifications to turn it into a modern, functioning courts building. Bradford says the 2 biggest are sunlight and furniture and both will have a calming effect on people inside, "People become much calmer if they have sunlight. That's proven and the U.S. Courts Centers has verified that. So, there's a of sunlight that's provided in the common areas and in the work spaces."
Bradford added, "What I would describe as more comfortable furniture, one individual who saw the drawings said it almost looked like a living room."
Another big plus, they're going from 31 public parking spaces to over 500.
Bradford says, "I had a citizen tell me, I see you bought parking and they through in a building."
Once it's vacated, the Midland County Historic Courthouse will not be left empty and tearing it down is not an option. Bradford says they've narrowed a list of about 100 suggestions, down to 10, "We will continue those conversations as we move forward but this building will be active."
The general public is invited to the official ribbon cutting on October 1st. When asked if any former Presidents or First Ladies might be in attendance, Judge Bradford smiled and said, "The invitations have been sent out. We'll just have to wait until 10:00 that morning to see who shows up."