JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The new $350 million Duval County Courthouse has finally passed a fire safety test, and is expected to be open for business on June 18.
The courthouse failed its previous ten tests, which kept it from opening. The city had hoped to open the courthouse on May 29, but without a certificate of occupancy, the building remained closed.
Just this past week, the city set in motion a plan to move stuff back from the new courthouse into the old Duval County Courthouse so that the wheels of justice could move forward starting next week.
But now, the new courthouse has a temporary certificate.
"We had a real serious problem but the city brought in some good people, and quit looking at it as a problem and looked for a solution," said a smiling Chief Judge Donald Moran. "We're really excited to get our employees in there and get everything unpacked."
Next week, the new courthouse will be open for move in only. Limited court services will continue at the old courthouse.
Court leaders believe the new courthouse will be open for business the following week of June 18.
"It's a building that Jacksonville will be proud of," said Judge Lance Day.
There's still some minor work to be done inside the new building.
Judge Day added the judges will be working with the State Attorney's Office on a plan to handle the backlog of cases due to the delays.
So, what changed?
JFRD Chief Martin Senterfitt says Turner Construction took a hands-on approach. It handled the work itself rather than relying more on contractors. Crews also put in 24 hour workdays.
"A lot of hard work by everyone," said Chief Senterfitt. "And everybody had the same goal at the end of the day and that's to get this building open and to make it safe."