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New Forsyth County Courthouse remains on schedule
Dedication March 12; opens four days later

CUMMING — With about two weeks to go, work on the new Forsyth County courthouse remains on schedule and under budget, officials say.

The dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the five-story facility in downtown Cumming is set for 10 a.m. March 12. It will officially open March 16.

The ceremony will draw some high-ranking speakers and feature the unveiling of some soon-to-be historical items.

“We have Chief justice Hugh Thompson of the Georgia Supreme Court, who will be our visitor, our keynote speaker,” said Forsyth Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley. “We have an agenda, of course, of speakers for that morning. After the speakers, we’ll actually have the ribbon cutting itself.

“Then after the ceremony we’ll go inside to the rotunda, where we’ll have the time capsule items displayed, so the public can [see] what will be in the time capsule.”

Construction on the courthouse began in July 2013. Bagley said various departments would begin moving into the building by next weekend.

“The district attorney’s and solicitor’s offices are scheduled to move March 6,” he said. “Then part of the [court] clerk’s office is scheduled to move, then the rest of the clerk’s office is scheduled to move the weekend of March the 13th, after the dedication ceremony of the 12th.

“The judges’ offices will move that same weekend … Once we have everything moved in, we’re ready to go and open up March 16th.”

At a meeting Monday of the county’s jail and courthouse project team, it was revealed that the courthouse was coming in under budget, though it still needs a certificate of occupancy.

However, the new four-story jail, which is being built across East Maple Street from the courthouse, is running a bit behind its scheduled opening in April.

Construction of both structures, as well as two new parking decks downtown, is being funded by revenue from the $100 million 1-cent sales tax program, which voters approved in a November 2011 referendum.

With the jail, program manager Joe Lee told the team Monday that crews “ran into rock halfway up Bank Avenue coming with the storm utilities, the water and the sanitary sewer. That’s going to lead to a delay to opening.

“I don’t know the extent of that,” Lee said. “We got the request for the extension Friday night or so.”

During the meeting Monday, the project team also discussed a plaque to go on the statue of lady justice at the courthouse, microphones for certain jury boxes, intercoms on the fourth and fifth floors and a plaque dedicated by the local Masonic Lodge.

The Masons are the only group being considered, as they also have a symbol on the current courthouse.