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Project team reviews flooding near new courthouse in Cumming
flooding
Heavy rain Sunday afternoon again submerged a part of East Maple Street in downtown Cumming, though the flooding subsided more quickly than a previous incident, show above, in which a vehicle was damaged by rising water. - photo by FCN file photo

CUMMING — Heavy rain Sunday afternoon again submerged a part of East Maple Street in downtown Cumming, though the flooding subsided more quickly than a previous incident in which a vehicle was damaged by rising water. 

The stretch of road runs between Forsyth County’s new courthouse and jail. The situation was discussed Tuesday during a meeting of the group charged with helping oversee construction of those facilities.

Project executive Henry Painter of Turner/Winter, the firm handling the construction work, told the SPLOST VII Jail/Courthouse Project Team that the rain was so heavy that even the former parking lot would have flooded.

“The design team came up with an upgraded 54-inch [storm water] system [for the new facilities],” he said. “There is one issue, though. To complete the connection, you must run through the existing jail. That cannot be put in until the existing jail is evacuated and [demolished,].”

The new jail is scheduled to open sometime next month. The existing structure likely will be demolished in September, but Painter said the construction team has taken precautions for the rain and flooding.

“In the meantime, there is a temporary storm line that has been installed to take that water [from heavy rain],” he said. “… There’s some additional pumps that have been brought out for caution and there’s another line that was put in, a backup line, but that is the main aspect of it.”

Construction of the jail and courthouse is being funded through the seventh round of the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, which voters approved in 2011.

Last week, officials said temporary storm water system was to blame for the flash flood that occurred during heavy rainfall May 26. At least one vehicle, a pickup truck, got stuck in the water, though the driver was not injured and the incident did not require a rescue. Water did not leak into the new jail or courthouse.

To guard against a repeat of the flooding, officials have said the construction team will have temporary pumps at the ready and/or provide a second temporary line or “day light” a line.

 

Water line, court annex

 

The road flooding has been the latest in a long line of water pipe issues involving the construction projects.

“We ran into a lot of unsuitable soil, rock, buried trash. You name it, we found it on the way to the final destination with the outfall line,” said Joe Lee, project manager.

The issues with the water line, along with issues with the Courthouse Annex, have caused the project team to seek a change order totaling about $1.5 million to help finish the project. The water line work alone could cost more than $600,000.

In addition, part of the work change order was made to help finish projects involving the Courthouse Annex.

Officials said there are several issues with ductwork and older materials that must be addressed before it can be used.

The annex also accounts for more than $600,000 in the change order.

 

Moving in, building out

 

Also discussed at the meeting was the potential of building out the new courthouse’s fourth floor, which has been largely left vacant to account for growth, and moving the sheriff’s office to the annex.

Neither of projects were part of the original scope of the sales tax program, and the project team is looking into other sources of funding.

The county commissioners likely will discuss the items at an upcoming work session.

Also involving the new courthouse, Chief Forsyth Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley reported that bailiffs outside of a jury deliberation room in the new courthouse are able to hear jurors deliberate.

The project team has looked into the issue, and suspects the noise is coming through the door rather than the insulated walls. Measures will be taken to reduce sound from the door.

 

Artwork, plaque and statue

 

The new courthouse has several new works of art, which were overseen by the Art and Décor committee.

Cara Beasley of the committee said the group would be looking into securing funds to decorate the fourth floor pavilion, though that project could take up to a year.

Fire Chief Danny Bowman told the committee that a local Mason’s lodge would pay for a previously discussed 30-inch-by-30-inch plaque at the building.

The committee also discussed the lady justice statue that will sit in front of the courthouse. A ceremony to dedicate it is planned for September.