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Architectural firms make pitch for project
Three in hunt to design courthouse
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Forsyth County News

A selection committee heard Wednesday from three firms hoping to design the new Forsyth County courthouse and detention center expansion.

The architectural and engineering teams made presentations and answered questions in a nearly three-hour open interview session.

Wakefield Beasley & Associates of Norcross and KSGW Architects and Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects, both based in Alpharetta, touted their experience in designing justice facilities and strategies for planning for Forsyth.

John Beasley emphasized the importance of recent jail and courthouse experience in meeting the needs of the facilities.

“We have the best and most innovative portfolio out there,” Beasley said.

Jeffrey Pieper said the methodologies of design and presentation set Pieper O’Brien Herr apart from the others, as well as its “seasoned professionals” on the project team.

Karen Sicner of KSGW said each person on her team has more than 25 years of experience in this area of design.

With her home in Forsyth County, Sicner said this is a project she personally wants to work on.

Donna Kukarola, county procurement director, said the firms on average estimated it would take about eight months to complete the design.

The selected firm will be tasked with designing the structures, whose construction will be funded through the seventh round of the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, which voters approved in November.

The 1-cent sales tax plan included an estimated $100 million for the structures, which will be built across from each other on East Maple Street in downtown Cumming, as well as a parking deck.

The selection committee did not make a recommendation after a closed session to discuss the sealed proposals and pricing, but the group plans to meet again at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 6.

The recommendation of the selection committee will be sent to the SPLOST VII Jail/Courthouse Project Team, which will then share its decision with the Forsyth County commissioners for approval.