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Judicial center design '99 percent' complete
A new judicial center, which has been in the talking and planning stages for more than five years, is getting ever closer to reality. The Project Development Board Wednesday looked at a rendering the architectural firm designing the building called "99 percent complete."
"It is in the last stages of design," said architect Dennis Arthur, with CMW firm, which is designing the building. "Of course, with a building like this it's never really done until it's built."
Not only is the design of the building nearly finished, the county is within a couple of weeks of acquiring the land on Main Street where the judicial center will be located. The center itself will sit at the block between Main and Washington streets at 4th Street. The state is also acquiring land on Main near 2nd Street for a parking lot.
On March 7, Circuit Judge Charles Hickman had a status meeting with the five property owners who have land or buildings where the judicial center and parking lot are located. The county will take the property by eminent domain and the state, which is financing the $18.1 million judicial center will pay the owners a total of $1,00,090. That is about $200,000 more than the state had in its land acquisition budget, said deputy county Judge-Executive Rusty Newton.
The property owners have until April 7 to appeal the financial terms of the agreement, but in the meantime the land and buildings revert to the county, Hickman said.
On Wednesday, the Project Development Board approved "Phase B" of the design, which allows CMW to begin creating construction drawings that precede letting the project out for bids.
The design shows a four-story brick and stone building with a metal roof topped by a cupola. The building is approximately 61,000 square feet. The first floor will be the largest floor; the second and third floor will be the same size and the top floor will be the smallest.
The bottom of the building will be stone, the top brick. Arthur showed two renderings of the building, one in red brick, the other in blond brick. He said the final color would not have to be selected until construction actually begins.
The building uses narrow arches and windows to produce a vertical effect, Arthur said. In the drawing shown Wednesday, the cupola had been reduced from a previous drawing both for aesthetic effects and to save money. Newton said the project is about $1 million over budget as designed and some changes will be made to the interior and exterior plans to cut costs, but he said the changes will be minor. Codell Construction is overseeing the building of the judicial center.
Arthur told the board the project should be ready for bids by June of this year. The state will also have to pay to demolish buildings on the sites and upgrade a water line to ensure adequate fire protection for the building.
James Bauman, who represents the Administrative Office of the Courts on the Project Development Board, said he hopes work can begin in late fall of this year to avoid "the kind of weather (rain) we're having out there right now."
Construction is expected to take about 18 months. Once finished, the new judicial center will house district and circuit courts, the offices of the circuit court clerk and family court.