Courthouse officials moving back into old courthouse | Politics

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Courthouse officials moving back into old courthouse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Since it has been determined that the new $350 million Duval County Courthouse will not be inhabitable in the near future, workers are scrambling to get the old courthouse up and running so court business can continue.

The decision came after a meeting Monday morning after the fire suppression system failed to work properly during weekend tests. The old courthouse closed two weeks ago in anticipation that the new one would be open a week later.

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Court administrator Joe Stelma said officials will perform a walk through at the new courthouse today to assess when the new courthouse may be ready to open.

Officials said they were aware of some problems with the courthouse, but did not realize there were serious problems with the fire system.

A plan to open parts of the courthouse while workers try to resolve problems in other areas was rejected as not workable, as one of the largest problem areas is the atrium, where everyone must pass and clear security to go anywhere inside.

The city's procurement chief is now trying to figure out what has already been moved to the new courthouse, what needs to be taken back and how long that will take.

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The move into the new courthouse is said to have cost about $340,000, and there's no word on how much additional moving expenses will cost. The city will be renting furniture during its time in the old courthouse.

Jury trials have already been cancelled for this week, and a source close to the situation says it's possible courtrooms could be up and running and judges back on the bench in their old places by Monday, but this is an estimate.

Stay with First Coast News online and on air for more about the courthouse as it develops.

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