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Committee: Jail, courthouse project under budget
Fountain, painting may be added
Cell pod with day area

Though it has been more than a year and a half since the new Forsyth County Courthouse opened and more than two years for the new jail, the project’s advisory team met recently to discuss final work that remains on the task list.

The SLPOST VII JAIL-Courthouse Project is still under budget with the last items not completed.

“Including Change Order No. 4, we’re under budget by $519,225,” said Joe Lee, program manager. “Now, I know that sounds like a lot of money, but it’s half a percent of the total value.”

The change order, which was approved at the meeting and worth just less than $265,000, was needed after workers ran into underground rocks and tanks and for rerouting off-site storm and sewer and to work on the jail parking lot and jail rec yard expansion plates.

Lee said there were also issues with weather throughout construction.

“The interesting thing about this project between November ’11 and today is that we’ve had the biggest drought we’ve ever had and the 100-year rain in the same four-year period. We’ve braved all kinds of natural elements,” he said.

The change order also had a credit of more than $105,000 for jail floors that did not meet standards.

The jail floors and issues with elevators at the courthouse are among the issues still needing to be resolved.

“We’re having problems with the elevators from the bottom all the way to the fifth floor,” Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffery S. Bagley said. “There’s usually one elevator working.”

Another courthouse issue is that sounds can be heard through walls and doors in certain areas of the building. Lee said this has been a recurring issue with eco-friendly buildings and recommended using white noise machines, which are currently used on the fifth floor.

Construction of the courthouse began in July 2013. It, along with a new four-story jail across East Maple Street and two nearby multi-level parking decks with hundreds of spaces each, was funded through an extension of the 1-cent sales tax program (SPLOST) that voters approved in a November 2011 referendum.

The first $100 million from the sales tax is going toward the structures.

During the meeting, the group also discussed two possible decorations, which will be decided by other groups.

The first was for a potential fountain outside the courthouse, which is estimated to cost about $213,000 plus yearly maintenance.

Infrastructure is currently in place for water and electricity, but not sewer drainage, and the project will be discussed by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

Money saved on the project could possibly go toward the fountain.

“That will be an option for the board if they’re looking for funding,” County Manager Doug Derrer said. “They can certainly look to this funding to fund the fountain.”

The other project is an art donation by local artist Gregory Johnson, who sculpted Lady Justice outside the courthouse, for a contemporary painting of the Indian Seats on Sawnee Mountain. The project’s Art and Décor committee will be reconvened to discuss the painting.