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County to hire firm to manage justice center construction
JD justicenew
An architect’s drawing shows what the justice center is supposed to look like from the corner of South Main and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. - photo by Submitted / Coastal Courier
Liberty County’s new Justice Center will be built under the supervision of a construction management firm, according to a decision by the commissioners this week.
Architect Craig Buckley told the commission he had been going through the drawings of the building to make sure it included all the features that would be needed. As an example, he said the sally port — secure entrance and driveway — had been moved because of parking considerations.
Buckley said he had realized the new design did not allow space for vans carrying prisoner to court to turn around, and needed to be modified.
Buckley told the commissioners his architectural firm builds about $200 million in construction annually and that about of 40 percent of customers now use construction management firms. These are companies, frequently general contractors, that have the expertise to oversee large construction projects for governments and private customers.
Buckley said someone from his firm would still be present during the construction “every day, or almost every day.”
Plans for the new justice center include a 25,000 square foot building fronting on Main Street and a 50,000 square foot parking lot in the rear. The Justice Center will house the district attorney, sheriff’s office, public defender, superior, state and local judges. The complex will be built on 2.61 acres over 11 parcels of land, which were owned by nine different people. It is bounded by Main, Martin Luther King and bagley. Earlier cost estimates were as high as $20 million. Brown has said more current figures are between $17 and $18 million.
In other business Tuesday, Barney Maley, owner of the Sunbury Crab Co. restaurant, asked commissioners to consider Sunday alcohol sales in unincorporated areas.
Maley told the commissioners that allowing the drink sales would bring the county in line with current laws in Hinesville and Flemington and “help stem the flow of tourist dollars to other counties.”
Commission Chairman John McIver thanked Maley and said, “Let us study this.”
County Attorney Kelly Davis advised the commissioners that Sunday alcohol sales would have to be approved by voters. He said the commission should act three or four months before when they wanted to schedule the referendum.
The state law allowing local governments to authorize Sunday alcohol sales restricts them to restaurants earning more than 50 percent of their income from food and hotels earning more than 50 percent of their income from room rental.
The commissioners also approved two budget amendments connected with the court system, one dealing with State Court and one for the juvenile prosecuting attorney.
State Court Judge Leon Braun is becoming a fulltime judge due to the caseload. The commissioners added $32,992 to the State Court budget to cover the cost of making it a fulltime operation. Another adjustment will be needed for the judge’s salary when an official starting date is set to start fulltime operation.
The Atlantic Circuit District Attorney’s Office is hiring an in-house attorney to prosecute juvenile cases instead of contracting for that service. The commissioners moved $32,876 from the professional services line item to be used for personnel costs of the new position.
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