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County breaks ground for justice center
Construction expected to take two years
groundbreak 4
County officials talk among themselves as they prepare for the groundbreaking Tuesday morning for the new justice center. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
Construction ceremonially began yesterday for the county’s three-story justice center and commission Chairman John McIver “never thought we’d get here today.”
“We worked through some trying times, trying to get here,” he said. “After more than six years of going forth with planning for our justice center, I must say we have finally arrived at that point in time.”
And Bill Vickery, project manager with Pope Construction, was eager to get the estimated two years of construction started.
They are now waiting for building permits, but “as soon as we get that, it’s off to the races,” Vickery said.  
“We’re ready right now,” he said. “We’re just waiting on permits.”
Vickery calculated three weeks before there is actual movement on the corner of Main Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Site clearing will be the first step for the estimated 100,000 square foot facility.
As construction manager, Pope Construction guaranteed to build the center for just under $19.7 million.
But heavy participation from local suppliers could cut costs and “help promote our economy,” according to McIver.  
“We know that when we spend our dollars on this project that we want to see those dollars remain here," he said of the facility “not just be for tomorrow, but for years to come.”
The county seat is participating in land acquisition costs and Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said he hopes the building will also be signature for the expanding city.
“You’re going to see one of the most beautiful buildings that we have in our city,” Thomas said. “This building will be the cornerstone of a new downtown Hinesville.”
He thought Hinesville has always been worthwhile, but now can be “recognized as a growing and historic city.”
“One of things we can be very proud of is all of us worked together to make this thing happen,” Thomas said.
“You all had input to what’s going in this facility and we hope that you all make the best use of it when it’s finally completed in the next two years,” McIver said to the judges, lawyers, law enforcement and other officials whose offices will be in the new facility.
“It’ll be a safe haven for folks who have the overall best being for the county in mind,” said county administrator Joey Brown.
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