TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) — Court proceedings resumed Monday as scheduled in Miller County, Ark., with one exception — the location of the courtroom.
“All rise. The Miller County Circuit Court is in session, the honorable Brent Haltom presiding,” the bailiff said.
KSLA News 12 alerted you Saturday to busted water pipes at the Miller County Courthouse that caused extensive damage to the building, including the courtrooms.
First, a pipe burst Feb. 17, flooding the second and first floors as well as the basement. Water could be seen running down the elevator shaft.
Several more pipes burst two days later, leaving some floors standing in water six inches deep. And ceilings fell.
“This is pretty much a total loss,” Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison said.
It is not yet known where most offices temporarily will be relocated. But people in the circuit clerk’s office said they had planned in advance for such a disaster.
“We have already made contact with our alternative site, which is part of the plan that we had an alternative site that would be available to us to have internet access and everything to be able to continue operations as quickly as and efficiently as possible,” said Nicole Keel, a circuit clerk employee.”
The prosecutor’s office and the three circuit judges’ offices are being moved to the Landmark building downtown, according to a post on Harrison’s Facebook page. And first-floor offices are being moved to other locations.
“We are trying to figure out where our space is going to be because we all are going to have to vacate our office for a long period of time while the decision is made to renovate the courthouse or getting a new space,” Arkansas Circuit Judge Brent Haltom told KSLA News 12.
Insurance adjusters were on hand Monday trying to determine how much damage the water caused.
And the Miller County Quorum Court held a specially called meeting Monday afternoon to determine what steps to take as they work to get back in the courthouse.
Officials are saying it could take up to a year to make repairs.
They have contacted the governor’s office about the possibility of any assistance, Harrison said.
Meantime, anyone who has business to conduct is being advised to first call ahead.
Tune in to KSLA News 12 this evening for the latest on efforts to resume business at the Miller County Courthouse.