Courthouse Annex 4 set to open in October
Harris County's John Phelps Courthouse Annex 4 is nearing completion in northwest Pasadena at Richey Street and Texas 225.
The $16.8 million building, on the former site of a car dealership, is expected to be finished by mid-September.
It will open for business in October, said Mark Seegers, spokesman for Precinct 2 County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia.
The exact date has not been determined, Seegers said, because it entails moving several different offices.
The two-story building at 101 S. Richey St. will house offices for Precinct 2, County Tax Assessor-Collector Leo R. Vazquez, County Clerk Beverly B. Kaufman, the air-quality staff of the county's Public Health and Environmental Services and a drive-through inspection station for mobile food vendors' trucks.
It will also include new offices for Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace George Risner and Precinct 2 Constable Gary Freeman.
While some offices are relocating from the Kyle Chapman Annex at 7330 Spencer Highway or the Corrigan Center at East Shaw and Pasadena Boulevard, the county public health department has not previously had an office in Pasadena.
Garcia wanted to change that, Seegers said.
The commissioner wanted Public Health to have a stronger presence in the Pasadena area, particularly in the area of air quality," he said.
She hoped to accomplish that in the design of this building," he said.
It makes sense to have people who do important work in that area to be officed in that area."
The new building's domed lobby will include an installation by Dallas-based artist Ellen Frances Tuchman, whose work can also be seen at Houston's branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 1801 Allen Parkway.
Tuchman said Monday her Pasadena project includes a dozen or more mixed-media paintings to honor the area's history.
The works will be installed in the new courthouse in September, she said.
Each individual painting will highlight either one of the (Precinct 2) cities or something thematically important to the area, like the oil and petrochemical companies," Tuchman said.
Her largest painting for the Phelps Annex measures 40 inches by 60 inches, she said.
Although Tuchman calls the pieces paintings, she said they could also be described as assemblages" because they include her original art work in acrylic paint and colored pencil as well as hand-sewn bead work and the memorabilia she collected from area residents.
Among the donated items are old family photos, a World War II ration coupon book, a folding cap used by a U.S. soldier in Vietnam and a photo of John Hartman of Pasadena, who painted the murals in the now-vacant Capitan Theater.
Garcia announced in 2007 that the annex would be named for John Phelps, Pasadena businessman and volunteer.
Among other honors, Phelps has received the Paul Harris Rotary Award and the visionary award of the Economic Alliance-Houston Port Region.
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