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In the News

Courthouse renovations continue

By Cyndi Sellers

The $6 million Cameron Courthouse Renovation project is moving forward at a good pace, Parish Administrator Ryan Bourriaque reported Friday.

To date, $1.5 million, or one fourth of the budget, has been billed by the contractor. The interior has been cleared, including walls, windows, fixtures, and even the old plumbing. The old jail has been completely gutted. It will house the Clerk of Court’s offices.

New plumbing has been installed everywhere and stud walls put in place for the rearranged offices. New modern restrooms are being installed on the second and third floors.

After looking like a demolition site for a couple of months, the Courthouse is coming back to life as new windows are being installed. The front stairs, site of many celebrations over the decades, had to be changed to meet modern codes. The old steps are gone, and are being replaced with new east and west facing steps that will be protected from the elements by a canopy.

On a tour through the building, the site manager pointed out the thickness of the walls his crews were having to pierce for the new drainpipes and HVAC conduits. At the top of the courtroom, the 80-year-old red rock concrete was 14 inches thick. He could only imagine how thick the concrete is at the base of the building, which is tapered toward the roof. Concrete continues to harden as it ages - forever. He said it took days to make four smallish square openings near the ceiling.

One thing that was not removed was the massive safe in the former Sheriff’s Office. It is built into the concrete structure of the building and will be left in place.

Sadly, the large glass block window in the east side stairwell is to be demolished next week. It is to be replaced with a normal window. The curved oak and metal stair rails are also going away.

When complete, many months from now, everything will be new - walls, floors, plumbing, wiring - and up to code. The finished courthouse will be a source of Cameron Parish pride for another 80 years.

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