The normal, dark wood paneling with the flimsy metal borders and carved graffiti interior had been replaced with shiny metal. The dark gray flooring had been replaced with a pinkish tile. It looked space-aged compared to the previous bucket of bolts that had been the trademark of the inefficient transport system that we have all come to know and hate at the CJC.
The little floor monitor thingy that (on days when it was working) told elevator occupants what floor we were stopping on no longer utilized the glowing red, digital numerals found on 1990's-era alarm clocks (and timers for bomb countdowns in spy movies). It had been replaced by a cool new video monitor that showed the floor we were on, superimposed over an image of the CJC!
It was all very exciting. In the two years and five months since Hurricane Harvey, we are finally seeing some exciting signs of improvement! I almost felt like I was in the elevator of someplace fancy, like a bank or some other place that cares about safety and efficiency. I wasn't used to such luxuries at the Criminal Justice Center.
Of course, we didn't really need for the repairs on the CJC to make the elevators prettier. I think that pretty much all of us would settle for an ugly elevator if it, you know, worked. I've heard many people complain about the number of elevators not running on any given morning, but I've yet to hear someone say: "Sure these elevator work fantastic, but they are so aesthetically hideous that it ruined my entire criminal courthouse experience today."
Making the new elevators pretty and modern is pretty much akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the H.M.S. Titanic. Two years later and all of the felony courts are still splitting time between the CJC and the Civil Courthouse because many of the courtrooms aren't ready for occupancy. Absolutely nothing has been done to alleviate the backlog of defendants waiting in lines just to get in the building every morning. In an obvious gesture of surrender to the masses, the County has constructed some sort of temporary covered walkway for the lines that form outside every morning.
The building has become the architectural version of a mullet. Space-age elevators on the inside. Civil War-era shelters in the front.
I'm trying to figure out how this went down during the construction planning.
Contractor # 1: I assume our first priority is to get the courtrooms up and running as quickly as possible? Or maybe restructuring the entry to increase the efficiency of getting people in and out of the building? Or getting the elevators in working order so that we don't have so many frequent breakdowns?
Contractor # 2: No. First off, we've got to make the elevators look cool as shit.I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by the aesthetic elevator improvements. After all, the first major step they took in the post-Harvey rebuilding efforts was to install a Fuddruckers in the basement of the Civil building.
I've heard from some
Maybe it would go a little faster if the powers that be realized we don't need a pretty building.
We just need one that works.
By the way, the over/under on when a disgruntled defendant smashes the glass on one of those fancy new floor displays is six business days. I'm taking the under.