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Timeline & Challenges of the Hidalgo County Courthouse Construction Project

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Hidalgo County is assessing the situation and considering all legal and contractual remedies to ensure the completion of the new Courthouse project. Images Source: hidalgocounty.us
Hidalgo County is assessing the situation and considering all legal and contractual remedies to ensure the completion of the new Courthouse project. Images Source: hidalgocounty.us

Texas Border Business

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Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez

EDINBURG, Texas – Through a press release, Hidalgo County has issued a detailed account of the events, achievements, and obstacles encountered during the construction of the new Hidalgo County Courthouse over the past two years.

In 2018, the county hired Morganti Texas for the construction of a seven-story, 344,000-square-foot facility. This new building is designed to house 31 courtrooms, the Hidalgo County Bar Association, a central utility plant, security screening area, parking spaces, a 700-person temporary detention center for inmate defendants, and District and County clerks’ offices.

Jacobs Engineering was enlisted as the project manager, tasked with representing the county’s interests and overseeing the project from conception to completion. This involved communicating with construction professionals and Hidalgo County itself.

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Construction was initially on budget and within the contractually-defined timeline, despite the impact of the pandemic. However, challenges arose in December 2021, when the project was around 85% complete. Morganti requested extensions to the completion date, first to May 2022, then to August 2022, and finally to October 2022. Despite granting earlier extensions, Hidalgo County found that progress had significantly slowed, and dealing with Morganti became increasingly difficult.

When Morganti failed to reach substantial completion in August, they requested another extension, which was contested by the county. In response to exterior envelope and other system testing failures in November 2022, an independent engineering firm was hired to examine construction issues related to the building’s exterior. Their assessment report has identified problems that must be addressed.

Despite nearing interior completion, the county has struggled to get Morganti to fulfill their contractual obligations. The company has essentially halted work on the project, and the county is disputing Morganti’s billings, alleging contract violations.

Hidalgo County is assessing the situation and considering all legal and contractual remedies to ensure the completion of the new Courthouse project. “This is one of the largest and most needed projects in the County,” said Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez. “Unfortunately, overcoming hurdles is common with these types of projects. We will push forward and clear the path to complete this project, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience. We will get to the finish line.”

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