The ins and outs of the courthouse's elevator problem

courthouse elevators
Posted at 9:01 PM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 22:10:00-05

Nueces Co. commissioners were supposed to vote on new elevators for the courthouse tower, but despite agreement that they need fixing, the vote was tabled.

That vote was tabled because the county wants to get some of the language in the contract cleaned up.

It will cost the county around $2M to replace four elevators in the courthouse tower and three elevators at the jail.

These elevators are one of the busiest places in the Nueces Co. Courthouse. but most days at least one, and often more, of these elevators doesn't work.

“It's just really difficult,” said Cid Cabrera. “There's a long line all the way to the back.”

Cabrera is a contractor: Her job brings her to the county courthouse twice a week.

Her experience with the elevator system here has been far from uplifting.

“I always see the guys working on it, but then you come in the next week and it's the same thing again,” she said. “It just never ends.”

Cabrera frequents the fourth floor.

Asst. District Attorney Jenny Dorsey often works on the eighth.

“If we have two elevators working on any given day we are thinking it's a good day,” she said.

Dorsey said she's learned to plan ahead on bad elevator days. That includes leaving at least 10 minutes early and getting on the elevator wherever, and whenever, she can.

“Sometimes if we need to go up to court, we go down to go up,” she said. “Then everybody who's trying to wait in line, they get a full elevator that they can't get on.”

Cabrera and Dorsey both say they've been stuck in a tower elevator more than once, and neither feels particularly safe while riding.

“We talk about it all the time when we're down here,” Cabrera said. “Everybody -- the lawyers, people coming in for court -- everybody's talking about it. Why can't anything be done?”

County judge Barbara Canales wanted to have the new elevators approved this week. She's now pushing for commissioners to vote at their next meeting in two weeks.