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Justice center moves forward
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Construction on a $19 million judicial center is projected to begin late this summer — an effort generally considered to be a major step in revitalizing the downtown area of Hinesville.  
Between now and then, County Administrator Joey Brown is working in conjunction with Sheriff Don Martin, architects, bond underwriters and others to keep the planning in motion.  
“The new center will be three stories tall, cover about a 19,000 sq. ft. area on South Main Street and it will take about 18 months to build when construction gets started,” Downtown Manager Sandy White said. “I am very excited about this project, and we at the Downtown Development Authority think it will be a big boost for our city.”
Within 30 days, James Buckley and Associates will finalize the floor plans and designs, and within 60 days the county will receive $5 million in SPLOST funds, which are earmarked for the project, Brown said.  
“It’s exciting because we will increase the flow of people to the downtown area by creating a user friendly environment,” Brown said. “Now folks can park, walk and have several resources to conduct their business in town.”
Sheriff Martin has partnered with Chief Deputy Keith Moran, and they have worked with Buckley as well to thoroughly complete the security plans for the justice center, Brown said.
Moran has coordinated with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association who will provide physical security specialists to help with the assessments.
He is also working with Capt. Terry Enoch of the Chatham County Sheriff’s office who is a local expert on courthouse physical security.
“Since the courthouse shooting near Atlanta where an inmate got a hold of a gun and shot a judge, legislation has been passed making security a much larger issue for government buildings,” Moran said.
Besides the security cameras and lighting systems, the justice center will feature X-ray machines, and an advanced video conferencing system where inmates can stay at the Liberty County jail in Walthourville and be broadcast to the justice center for preliminary trials, Moran said.
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