JEFFERSON, Texas (KLTV) - It’s down to finishing touches and cleanup on the renovation of the Marion County Courthouse. KLTV got a sneak peek of what the Marion County judge is calling a 99 percent restored 1913 courthouse.
Marion County Judge Leward LaFleur said their courthouse renovation is way ahead of schedule.
“I think we’re in month 18 or 19. The project called for 25 to 29 months completion,” LaFleur said.
Another thing Marion County residents like to hear is that it appears to be coming in under budget.
“I won’t know that exact dollar amount until we pay the last bill, but I would suspect we’re two to four hundred thousand dollars under budget,” LaFleur said.
The judge says they received a $4.7 million grant from the Texas Historical Commission.
“The money that’s not allocated to this courthouse will be returned back to the Texas Historical Commission, and it will help another courthouse out,” LaFleur said.
The other $1 million needed came from the county, and the changes are notably, well, noticeable.
“Just imagine paneling everywhere. It was grungy. The lighting was not good,” LaFleur said.
That seventies paneling your grandma may still have was taken out, and the courtroom itself underwent big changes.
“The ceiling was low, so now you’ve got this beautiful domed, curved ceiling with all these different beautiful colors, LaFleur said. “And these were actually the original colors to every room. A lot of these colors were brought in by riverboat from New Orleans. That’s why they’re so different.”
And there are a couple of reminders left of how it was. Like a section of un-restored stenciled trim in the courtroom and a section of wall behind a cabinet door.
“I’m really proud of this project, and I really hope the state continues their courthouse restoration program,” LaFleur said.
And here at least, everything old is new again. I kind of miss that paneling though.
The week of February 15, county offices will be closed so they can move back into the courthouse, but it will be business as it was beginning February 22.
They are delaying an opening ceremony or ribbon cutting until spring or summer because of COVID-19.