When Hurricane Ike hit, many buildings in downtown Orange suffered much damage, and some were even completely destroyed. One of those buildings was the Adult Probation Office. After about three years, a new Adult Probation office has finally received the approval to be built and is currently under construction.

The original Adult Probation office was located on west Division Street in old Orange, right across the street from the Old Orange Café. When Ike struck, the probation office flooded, collecting up to four feet of water.

The flooding in old Orange damaged more than 51 percent of the Adult Probation office. Insurance companies will not repair buildings with that percentage of damage, so the old building had to be demolished. The land that the office was on had to be raised from about four and a half to five feet, which would put it above basic flood level, in order for the insurance company and FEMA to insure a new building.

“It was a terrible loss, and we had to completely tear down the building and start over,” said Nancy Haworth, director of the Adult Probation office.

Where the old Adult Probation office used to sit, there is now an unoccupied concrete slab. Workers in the old office had to be relocated to the sheriff’s department on Old 1442 when the building was destroyed.

The idea for a new Adult Probation office originated shortly after Ike destroyed the previous one. After a property swap with the Heritage House in which the probation office acquired a bigger footprint of land within their complex, the plans for a new office became finalized.
With help from a hired general contractor, the construction for the Adult Probation office started about six to seven weeks ago. The predicted amount of time from the start of the project until completion was about 210 days.

“It’s coming along nice, I believe, and we’re working every day that it’s not raining,” Mark Wimberly, head of the maintenance department, said. “I’m glad to have it started and hope to see a completion to get these folks back in their own office.”

The new Adult Probation office is being built on the corner of Division and Border, due west of the courthouse. The office serves to manage and keep check on adult parolees and to make sure that they maintain a certain code of conduct.

In the new building there will be two offices for the law library and two for the cluster court. The cluster court is a court in which Judge David Dunn travels to different counties and handles family arbitration matters.

Fortunately, Orange County has not had to pay for any of this project. Between money provided from FEMA and the insurance company, the entirety of the office is paid for. According to Wimberly, Orange County should have a zero balance for this project.

Construction on the new office is progressing well, and interior design decisions are starting to be made on it. Wimberly stated that Monday morning, the director was in the office making the decision to finalize furniture that would be placed in the office.