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New courtroom and county offices proposed for Texas 29 land in Burnet

Site for Burnet County courtroom and offices

A building to house a new courtroom and county offices could be built on this land at the corner of County Road 250 and Texas 29 across the street from the Burnet County Courthouse Annex-North in Burnet. The county owns the four acres, part of which is leased to a real estate agent. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

The process to possibly build a new courtroom and county offices on four acres on Texas 29 across from the Burnet County Courthouse Annex-North moved a step further as county commissioners named three architectural firms as top bidders for the design portion. Jackson/Levy, Parkhill, and DRG Architects were named in that order as the best of 14 bids received at the Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12. Negotiations will immediately begin with Jackson/Levy.

The facility would be built on four acres of county-owned land at County Road 250 and Texas 29. Funding is possible through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act, designed to help communities deal with issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The building would be designed for social distancing in a courtroom setting,” County Judge James Oakley said. “It would give us room to spread out.”

Adding office space also would allow the county to reduce its use of rental property to house employees. 

The county awaits final rules from the U.S. Treasury Department about how American Rescue Plan money can be used. The building qualifies according to interim final rules from the plan about how to use the funds.

“We are waiting for final, final rules,” said County Auditor Karin Smith. 

The project, which Oakley calls a “public services building,” does have to follow a timeline that includes choosing an architect by this coming December.