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Courthouse is in session

image Natural materials and a historic bridge bring the new Denton County Southwest Courthouse to order.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - Denton County had a vision: Each precinct commissioner would have their own building, while also housing an annex building for the county. The facility would include the precinct’s justice of the peace, the commissioner’s office, tax and clerk’s offices, the constable, adult and juvenile supervision and the Department of Public Safety.




    After 12 years of planning and deliberation, the County was ready for the realiza-tion of the Denton County Southwest Courthouse, and enlisted the expertise of SEDALCO Construction Services and EiKON Consulting Group. The result is a 32,000 sf single-story facility located within five acres of Flower Mounds’ Canyon Falls development and nestled within the city’s trail system.
    SEDALCO project manager Tammy Crooks explained that the natural feel of the environment greatly influenced the materials chosen for the project.
    “The natural stone and brick on the exterior makes the building blend in,” Crooks says. “It needed to look like it was always supposed to be there. If you look at it from the outside, it looks like someone took a lot of care to make sure the building look like it belonged.”
    “The building site actually hooks into the trail system that goes throughout that community,” Crooks continues. “When we built the building, we incorporated sidewalks and trails around the building to give it the feel that it was always supposed to be there. People are already walking around it with kids and strollers. One of the best features, I think, is the bridge that spans the pond in the front of the facility. “The Sam Bass Road Bridge” is a historic bridge for Denton County. It was a bridge that was on a one-lane road that was brought over to our site. When we built our project, we integrated that bridge into the pond area so that it’s actually a pedestrian bridge now with public access to it. It’s a really unique feature of the project and interesting feature for the property.”
    Crooks says the nicest feature inside the building is the community room.
    “It was constructed with exposed timber trusses. It has a nice, warm feel to it because of the trusses and the wood paneling that surround the room. There were a lot of clerestories incorporated into the building, so there’s a lot of natural light.”
    The effect is stunning, but was not effortless.
    “There were quite a few challenges on this project,” Crooks says. “The weather was really bad for us; we lost a lot of days because of rain. Site conditions were not favorable; we were actually creating drainage for the property when we built it.”
    We were also trying to build this facility within a neighborhood; literally, there is a wall separating it from the residents behind it. That was a little challenging, because you must maintain a good working relationship with your neighbors, so the County could occupy the building on a good note. The superintendent, Chad Montgomery, did an excellent job in forging this relationship; he wrote a letter giving our team members’ contact information and left one on each door.”
    Materials and labor toward the middle of the job also presented challenges.
    “This project was aiming for silver LEED certification. Because of that, we were ordering materials like FSC lumber. One of the major issues we had was that all the windows on the exterior were to be FSC wood. It took almost 16 weeks to get them in. It’s kind of hard to build the rest of the building when you’re waiting for windows and doors to close it and dry it in. The labor shortage started to hit us towards the end of the project as well making it difficult for subcontractors to man the project.
    The biggest challenge was the standing seam metal roofing. When the installation was nearing completion, a hailstorm damaged it so severely there was no choice but to completely replace it from scratch.
    For the most part, those were the big challenges,” Crooks says. “But we had a great team, the people of Denton County were great and the architect’s represen-tative, Paul Sanders of EiKON, was fantastic.
    Even with the challenges, the courthouse, which was completed in June of this year, was a crowd – and client – pleaser.
    “It’s a stunning building,” Crooks says. “Our commissioner was extremely ecstatic. Everyone in the community was happy that the building is finally there. This project was literally 12 years in the making so it was something they were very eager for.”
    Fort Worth general contractor SEDALCO Construction Services builds projects for a broad range of industries. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net