NEW BRAUNFELS — The demolition of the old county jail, a 1930s addition to the historic Comal County Courthouse, went without hitch and crews on Thursday were busy removing the debris.
The demolition of the three-story old jail is part of the $8.67 million renovation the courthouse, built in 1898.
County Engineer Tom Hornseth said the jail’s demolition on Monday night was accomplished without explosives.
Heavy equipment operators using a “grabber” device strategically removed structural members to ensure the old jail fell straight downward rather than topple over onto an adjacent alley with exposed utility lines or against the county’s parking garage just feet away.
“Not one stone fell into that alley,” Hornseth said. “They know what they’re doing.”
Hornseth said the demolition work was videoed.
“We’re going to put a movie together and then put it out on You Tube to make it public,” he said.
Eventually, a complete movie showing the courthouse restoration project will be made and released as a historical record of the project.
Now that the old jail and other additions are off, the old courthouse is starting to look “more architecturally pleasing,” he said.
The renovation, which will restore the structure to its original 1898 look along with the removal of the additions, unveils the original design of noted Texas courthouse architect J. Riely Gordon.
RBR Construction of Weatherford began the courthouse restoration last fall.
The project is scheduled to take two years.
The electrical and air-conditioning system switch-over on Friday night, which separated the utility systems of the old courthouse and the adjacent courthouse annex, was accomplished without any problems, Hornseth said.