Dallas—The Oak Cliff Government Center, a 74,000-square foot, $33 million facility located at 702 East Jefferson, was officially dedicated by Dallas County officials on Tuesday, Dec. 14, in a ceremony outside the facility.
The building, which houses the Justice of the Peace, Truancy, Constable, and Tax departments, was completed in only 16 months.
“I’m so excited to be here for this grand opening,” Dallas County administrator Darryl Martin said. “Back in August of 2020, Dr. (Elba) Garcia, myself and other dignitaries stood on this ground with a shovel and dirt for the groundbreaking.
“It is not a Dallas County facility. It is a community facility for the people in this community.”
Martin was quick to add that the $400 million of the county’s current construction projects, which included the new government center, are being completed without raising taxes.
Following some brief opening remarks by Martin, Father Benito Tamez of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish in Oak Cliff gave an invocation and then blessed the building by sprinkling holy water outside the main entrance.
Dr. Elba Garcia, Dallas County commissioner for District 4, feelscenter’s opening was long overdue.
“It was about time,” Dr. Garcia said. “Our old facility was dated. The maintenance of that building was almost impossible.
“We have gone from $100 million in deferred maintenance to less than $20 million, all without raising bonds and taxes. The new Oak Cliff Government Center will also be a voting center where you will be able to come and vote.”
Dr. Garcia might be most proud of the artwork the new facility includes by artists from Dallas and Oak Cliff.
“To all the artists that participated in this project, your talent, commitment and engagement is really appreciated,” Dr. Garcia said.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins offered some brief remarks on the new facility.
“This is a very exciting moment in Dallas County history,” Jenkins said. “This new, state-of-the-art building is in the heart of Oak Cliff, which used to be its own city.
“We want to honor the connection with the community by ensuring the community had its own courthouse where its elected officials could serve the public in an efficient, first-class facility. I want to thank all the workers who worked on this building.”
GFF Architects designed the building, working closely with Dallas County officials to deliver a facility,which will effectively serve residents and be aesthetically pleasing.
“Throughout the design and planning process, Dallas County really emphasized their commitment to innovating to accommodate the growing and changing needs of the county taxpayers and employers,” Maria Gomez with GFF Architectssaid.
“The building was designed to have a presence as a city structure and to be inviting to the community. This outdoor space is for the community to use and enjoy. This new facility is on track to be a lead silver facility that prioritizes sustainable practices. The landscape design is paired with water irrigation systems and native plant species with a strong American Southwest influence that are drought tolerant, heat tolerant and low maintenance to achieve an overall reduction in 50 percent in outdoor water use.”
Ryan Companies US handled construction of the facility.
Paul Rowsey, Ryan Companies’ vice president of Real Estate Development for the Southwest Region, spoke about the new facility.
“This really is a beautiful setting for a stunning facility,” Rowsey said. “Every time I come here, it pops. I’m so proud to see this building right here, the way it stands proud, just like this neighborhood. At Ryan Companies, we endeavor to build buildings where people can thrive.
“This isn’t just a building; it’s not just material.It’s a living facility where people are going to live their lives and go about being awesome members of this community. We had a vision to transform a block right here in the heart of Oak Cliff to be beautiful, functional and an aesthetic facility.”
Notable local dignitaries in the crowd were Dallas County Constables Bill Gipson, II; Tracey Gulley, Michael Orozco, and Edward Wright, Dallas County tax assessor/collector John Ames, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Domingo Garcia, and Texas State Senator Royce West.
The event concluded with an official ribbon cutting.