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Part of Harris County courthouse reopens

HOUSTON – Four floors of the Harris County Courthouse reopened Monday morning, saving $20,000 a day in taxpayer money, according to officials.

The hallways of the lower floors were filled with water during Hurricane Harvey. The streets around the courthouse also flooded, and much of the water was waist-high.

This meant that the floors that were inundated had to be gutted. Walls were ripped out as all of the repairs were made. Water pumps were used almost daily. Signs on the front entrance turned people away.

The District Attorney's office had to move, as well. Boxes full of cases had to be transported to temporary offices.

Four floors of the courthouse reopened Monday, making 14 courtrooms and the 17th through 20th floors available again. Courtrooms on those floors have been renumbered.

Repairs are still underway.

Officials said the building will reopen in sections once those are complete. It will help to reduce jail crowding and speed up backlogged court cases, officials said.

Thirty-eight elected judges had to come together to work out rotating schedules until the end of the year.

The courtrooms will serve jailed defendants only.

The system is secure enough to bring in those inmates so hundreds of inmates won't have to be transported to other locations.

The move will save taxpayers about $20,000 a day.


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