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      Officials make case for new courthouse in Hidalgo County

      Hidalgo County is feeling growing pains as the population of 68,000 in the 1950s has grown into almost 1 million people.

      County officials said they need a brand new courthouse to meet the growth.

      The new courthouse would replace the current county courthouse in Edinburg that County Judge Ramon Garcia said is "no longer functional and would be costly to bring up to code."

      Garcia estimated it would cost between $20 and $30 million to bring the current building up to code.

      The courthouse was built to house three courtrooms in 1954, but as population boomed so did crime.

      It TMs been renovated three separate times and now houses 25 courtrooms.

      County officials said it TMs becoming too expensive to maintain the aging infrastructure and add courtroom space to it.

      Officials said a brand new courthouse is needed, but the only problem is the historic commission wants to preserve the building, because any structure over 50 years old is considered historic.

      Also, paying for the new courthouse is costly.

      It TMs estimated it will cost over $100 million.

      The architect estimates it could take up to two and a half years before construction on the new building could begin.

      That TMs if the county can pay for it.

      The county commissioner TMs court is expected to have the final cost estimates for building a courthouse in about three weeks.