District Attorney’s Office returns to renovated space

Construction materials line the south wall of the Brazos County Courthouse on Thursday as workers make repairs to the lower south roof.

After a year of working in cubicles in the Brazos County administration building, the District Attorney's Office began moving back into the courthouse this week as renovations to their offices were completed.

The Brazos County District Attorney's Office had been relocated to separate small offices in the administration building at 200 S. Texas Ave., just across the street from the courthouse. District Attorney Jarvis Parsons said that was the second time in the past few years they had to move offices. Prosecutors moved out in 2010 when construction started and stayed in the administration building for two years before moving into third-floor offices.

Parsons said he's excited the renovations are finally complete and everyone can have space to work again. Today is also the office's Thanksgiving celebration, and Parsons said they have a lot to be thankful for.

"It looks really nice, and we're just happy and thankful to be in an office like this," he said. "It's been a long time. We couldn't have asked for a better renovation."

County Judge Duane Peters said the fifth and final phase of the $14 million courthouse renovation project is on schedule, and that the space previously occupied by the DA in the administration building will be open for other offices to move into if needed through the duration of construction.

The funding for renovations to the 61-year-old building come out of the county's capital improvement budget.

While the project might be on track, it hasn't come without a few hiccups. County Clerk Karen McQueen closed her offices Tuesday, which was attributed to the fumes from roofing materials.

Workers started putting new roofing material above the county clerk's office, which had problems with leaks in the past. County Clerk Chief Deputy Flo Workman said the smell of the tar caused them to close the office, which isn't something that happens often. The collections department also had to close.

"We were getting headaches and nauseous," Workman said. "It was unbearable on Tuesday, it really was. My boss won't close this office down. It has to be bad."

She said the smell was better the next day when they came back, and the county rented air cleaners to help the issue.

Peters said he knows the renovations are disruptive, but they need to be done. The roof over the county attorney's office is next, he said.

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