OK given for drawings of new police, court building

Thu, 04/09/2009 - 3:44pm
By: Ben Nelms

The move to construct Senoia’s new facility to house the police department and municipal court continued at the April 6 city council meeting with a unanimous vote to proceed with construction drawings for the project. JMA Architectures Interiors Planning representative Marion Repeta gave council members an overview of the construction plans for the $1.3 million project that will be located near the ball fields on Howard Road.

Previously projected at 7,325 square feet, including 5,373 square feet for the police department and 1,952 square feet for the municipal court, Repeta said the courtroom had been enlarged to accommodate the need to seat 80 people. That adjustment brought the courtroom portion of the project to 1,500 square feet, for a total 2,933 square feet for the municipal court portion of the building and 8,310 for the entire facility.

Asked about the increase in size, Police Chief Jason Edens said the courtroom needed to be large enough to get people in and out safely in an emergency. Also commenting on the increase in size, city attorney Drew Whalen said he agreed that providing space to 80 seats was appropriate.

The question arose over whether increasing the size of the municipal court portion of the building would compromise the projected cost of the project that had been previously estimated at $1.3 million. Mayor Robert Belisle said he believed the project could stay within budget, noting the current cutthroat nature of the construction industry.

The council also had questions concerning the expected lifespan for the facility. City administrator Richard Ferry said he anticipated that the structure would serve the city’s need for up to 15 years.

After further discussion the council voted unanimously to proceed with the construction drawings.

The complex will be situated on approximately three acres on Howard Road near the city’s ball fields. The land was purchased from Southern Mills in 2008 for $232,000. The project is being funded largely through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

The city council in February adopted a resolution allowing the project to move forward with a funding mechanism through Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Brick and Mortar Program. Through the program, GMA essentially purchases the property, constructs the building and leases it to the city. Once the building is paid off, GMA signs it back over to the city.

Proceeding with the project, the city expects to it to be put out for bid in June, with a builder to be selected in August. If all goes according to plan, the new facility could open in March 2010.

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