P.O. Box 1989
West Palm Beach, FL 33402-1989
FAX: (561) 355-3819
Palm Beach County
Board of County
Steven L. Abrams
Priscilla A. Taylor
Hal R. Valeche
Mary Lou Berger
Jess R. Santamaria
"An equal opportunity
Affirmative Action Employer"
Electronic Press Release
Court House Restoration Project Background
Court House History
- In 1916, Palm Beach County built its original courthouse, which held all County government offices, including the jail. The 40,000-square-foot, four-story building was made of concrete, structural steel, brick, limestone and terracotta block.
- In 1927, an annex was built approximately 25 feet to the east of the existing building. A four-story, 14’-wide corridor in the center of the buildings connected the buildings. The Court House annex was described as a better building than the old Court House. It also had an elevator — a first for the Court House.
- In 1928, just over a year after it opened, the Court House and its annex served as a hurricane shelter when a massive storm struck Palm Beach County. Photographs show the Court House standing tall among the rubble of some of the surrounding buildings.
- In 1955, the Commission called for bids to redesign, modernize and air condition the existing space in the Court House and to incorporate the empty space between the buildings into useable rooms, which was called “the addition.” The Commissioners wanted enough growth room for twenty years.
- In 1970, a total wrap of the previous buildings was constructed, almost doubling the square footage.
- In 1995, the new courthouse was built across the street, and the old Court House was destined to be destroyed.
- In April 2002, the Palm Beach County Commission agreed to spend tax dollars in an attempt to save the 1916 Court House. The Board of County Commissioners allocated $18.5 million to be obtained by selling public improvement revenue and refunding bonds for the restoration of the 1916 Court House. The County has received two grants from the State for the Court House renovation. One grant was in the amount of $300,000, with a Local Cost Share of $2,739,192. The other grant was in the amount of $356,526, with a Local Cost Share of $589,290. (Note: Local Cost Share is the matching County funds for the grant.) The total contract price for renovations was $18,965,019.
- In February 2003, the County Commission voted to grant space in the Court House to the Historical Society.
- In January 2004, Hedrick Brothers Construction started the removal of the wraparound façade and demolition of the annex and addition.
- In September 2005, the County Commission authorized the restoration contract. Hedrick Brothers Construction was responsible for all phases of restoration including: identifying historical elements to be saved, such as brick, tile, stone, wood and marble; constructing, repairing or cleaning damaged areas and elements; locating and installing the original columns and finishing the interior including painting, staining and polishing. The project’s architect was REG Architects, Inc. The architectural design of the 1916 Court House is described as neoclassical. Neoclassical, or “new” classical, architecture is
seen in buildings that are inspired by the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome.
- In November 2007, the renovations were completed, and in December 2007 County employees from the Public Affairs Department (Channel 20 and Cable TV) and the County Attorney Litigation Department relocated to the Court House. The new Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum and Gift Shop are located on the second floor.
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