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Opening dates locked in for new Forsyth courthouse, jail

CUMMING — After months of construction, the opening of Forsyth County’s new jail and courthouse in downtown Cumming are in sight — and have official dates.

Last week, the project team overseeing the sales-tax funded construction projects, which are going up across Maple Street from each other, met to discuss their progress.

As of now, the five-story courthouse is scheduled to have its opening on March 16, and its public ribbon cutting on March 12.

The four-story jail, meanwhile, is scheduled to open on April 9. That will be about two weeks after inmates are moved into the new facility on March 25.

For the ribbon cutting at the courthouse, the team discussed potential guests and speakers such as Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein and a potential speaker that Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley couldn’t reveal.

“I’ve been working on a big-name speaker, and I have not resolved that yet,” Bagley said. “I’m still working on that.”

The team also discussed inviting elected officials from neighboring counties and municipalities to view what Bagley described as “the crown jewel of the 9th [Congressional] District.”

The facilities’ construction is being funded by revenue from the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, which voters approved in a November 2011 referendum.

During the meeting, the team also discussed some of the decorations for the courthouse. Among them was a display of nine replica documents, including the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Ten Commandments.

Bagley said the Ten Commandments shouldn’t cause any legal issues, as it will be displayed as a historic legal document instead of for religious purposes.

“There can be no inkling of a sectarian purpose,” Bagley said. “The purpose of displaying these is for … documents of legal history.”

Other art at the new courthouse will include pictures of older courthouses, and a statue of Lady Justice outside.

A time capsule will also be sealed sometime after the event containing a letter from elected officials, a signed list of those in attendance the day of the event and other items.