New Forsyth County courthouse moves forward

Jail demolition could save money, project manager says

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — At a Jan. 8 work session, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners were briefed on the courthouse project and moved forward with the idea of demolishing the current jail and building two parking garages instead of one.

“We felt it was time to bring the project up for an update to the full board,” County Manager Doug Derrer said.

Two commissioners are on the jail and courthouse project team, including Pete Amos and Todd Levent.

While the project continues to develop, Commissioner Jim Boff asked if the developments were what voters approved in November 2011.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said plan specifics are within the board’s discretion, but reiterated that nothing in the project is changing as the courthouse, jail and parking are all part of what voters OK’d.

“Certainly things change when you’re putting together things of this magnitude,” Jarrard said.

Joe Lee, of Carter Goble Lee, said they will manage the project and total cost in the short term and long term.

The first part of the project is demolition, which begins this month and continues until March.

According to Lee, after a study, the existing jail showed repair costs that could total $3.5 million, while a replacement would be about $4.8 million.

Commissioners also agreed with the recommendations to demolish the existing jail with a cost-effective and long-term option and build two new parking decks.

Industrial Facilities Solutions, a Gainesville-based company, will handle the demolition of the 246-space parking deck at East Main and Mason streets and a building across the street from the current courthouse on Courthouse Square/Veterans Memorial Boulevard.

At the work session, commissioners voted unanimously to award the $385,000 bid to Industrial Facilities. Lee said the bid came in about $100,000 under budget.

About 75 parking spots will be available for the public at Cumming Baptist Church to be used as overflow for weekday, daytime parking for the public and county employees.

Also part of the team, architects at Wakefield Beasley Associates and HOK and the construction manager is a joint venture of Turner Construction and Winter Construction.

The Turner/Winter team was recently selected because they were the only team who had experience constructing a jail and courthouse simultaneously.

The probate judge and court administration staff will be moved to the current courthouse.

For more parking locations in downtown, visit www.forsythco.com and select “parking information.”