Groups fighting over Travis County courthouse renovations

Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse
Travis County Courthouse

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  A former Travis County Federal Courthouse could soon be turned into a space for family courts.

Travis County Commissioners will receive an update on the plan to get more space for family courts. The building sits on Eighth Street between Lavaca and Colorado in downtown Austin. The extra space is what county leaders say is needed for the rising number of Child Protective Service cases, which have reached capacity.

“It’s not to going to solve our capacity problems, but it is a Band-Aid we definite need,” said Travis County Commissioner Judge Sarah Eckhardt.  “It’s up to the feds if we can have it, but we definitely want it, there’s no question we can use it.”

Another group is fighting for the space. ECHO, a homeless organization, wants to use it to create affordable housing and some kind of employment for the homeless.
Whichever group wins the building will also have to pay for the renovations.

Editor’s Note: This story originally indicated the remodeled building would cost $287 million but that figure is actually the cost for the construction of a new building. That particular bond failed last fall.

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