JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It’s been 12 years, $350 million of your tax money, and one problem after another. After fights over furniture, leaking pipes, and defective concrete the new courthouse was finally supposed to open Tuesday.
But it’s now Thursday and the doors remain closed.
"It’s very frustrating. As a taxpayer, it's very frustrating because this is real money we're talking about,” said Jacksonville City Council Vice President Bill Bishop.
After testing on the new fire system was pushed back to Saturday, Bishop scheduled a meeting of his own with the city’s fire inspection staff. He tells us he left that meeting not feeling very optimistic.
“They didn't sound confident at all. My own belief is, based on what I’m seeing so far, I don’t have a whole lot of confidence that this is going to work,” Bishop said.
He learned the courthouse’s fire alarm and sprinkler systems aren’t communicating. But the even bigger problem is the smoke evacuation system isn’t working properly.
This was quite a frustrating realization for Bishop, an architect for almost 30 years.
"How in the heck did it get to this point,” he asked, “How did it get here?"
It’s a question many want answered. If, as now expected, the fire systems fail this weekend, the courthouse could remain closed for quite awhile.
"If it doesn't work, then they have to go to plan B and that could potentially extend the opening date out as much as a month,” said Bishop.
Mayor Alvin Brown tells Action News they’re doing everything they can to open the courthouse as soon as possible.
Clerk of Courts Jim Fuller told Action News late Thursday night all jury trials next week have been canceled. People who've received summonses for jury duty for Monday, June 4, do not have to show up. Court operations for the week of June 11 have yet to be resolved, according to Fuller.