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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Flood Damages Criminal Justice Center

The damage from a broken plumbing valve at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center downtown will cost $50,000 to repair.

The valve broke on Dec. 23, causing flooding starting on the fifth floor of the nine story building. That building houses the county's misdemeanor and felony courts, the district attorney's office and the district clerk's office. The flood has temporarily forced two judges out of their courtrooms.

Roger El-Khoury, director of the facilities management department, said that the valve where hot and cold water mix broke on the west side of the building. It started spilling water, and it gradually made its way down to the first floor of the building, causing extensive damage in the courtrooms of County Court-at-Law Judges Mike Denton and Nancy Hohengarten and in the district attorney's office.

El-Khoury said contractors are doing much of the clean up, like drying out the walls and ceilings. They'll soon start replacing ceiling tiles and carpets that were ruined.

All courtrooms are expected to be reopened and operational by Tuesday, when the county offices reopen after the three-day holiday weekend.

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