“From good words, today we progress to good deeds.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett on transfer of historic Austin Federal Courthouse to Travis County
On December 29, the historic Austin Federal Courthouse, completed in 1936, was formally transferred by deed from the federal government to Travis County. This success was the result of several levels of federal and county government working together to ensure the building would remain a place where justice, and its historic architecture, are preserved. At a press conference, several local leaders marked the transition:
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said: “An historic courtroom, public lobbies, stairs, elevators, restrooms, and exterior stonework and Art Deco features will be maintained and complement the future use of this courthouse for the Travis County Probate Court and the County Clerk’s Probate Division.
Travis County has recommended $28 million for design, construction, and contingencies to prepare the building for county occupancy in 2020. Although this property transfer from our federal partners does not solve our overall court capacity issues long term, it is a great reliever of our current overcrowding at another historic public building, the nearby Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse.
We remain committed to the judicial, cultural, and architectural heritage of Austin and Central Texas and the stewardship of those resources.”
Sylvia Hernandez, Regional Administrator for the General Services Administration or GSA, who presented the deed for the property to Judge Eckhardt and Congressman Doggett: “One of GSA’s top priorities is to pursue opportunities for reducing the amount of unneeded properties in the federal real estate inventory,” said GSA Regional Administrator Sylvia Hernandez. “In 2016, GSA determined the Historic Austin courthouse excess to the needs of the federal government. Today, we are pleased to announce the transfer of ownership of this historic gem to Travis County through the Historic Monument Program. Through this program, the historic nature of this facility will be maintained in perpetuity.”
Congressman Doggett added: “From good words, today we progress to good deeds. This deed ensures that the historic features of this landmark, inside and out, are preserved, and that it continues in the role originally envisioned as a home for justice—an old home for justice is now becoming a new home of justice. This building is more than its cream-colored limestone; it is built on more than its Texas gray granite base. It embodies the fundamental American belief that we are a nation of laws. Through the cooperation of many, today we ensure that the important work of justice continues here. Whether through property transfers or direct dollars, the investments we make in our justice system are investments we make in our democracy. I salute Judge Sarah Eckhardt for her leadership, Judge Lee Yeakel for his insight, and GSA Administrator Sylvia Hernandez for the help that she and her staff have provided to make today possible.”