Jacksonville Council nixes complete redesign
by Laura Gaddy
Sep 30, 2013 | 3188 views |  0 comments | 63 63 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville City Council on Monday decided to scrap plans to redesign a new facility that will house the police and fire departments, a jail and a new courtroom.

The city would have had to pay Architects Design Group $280,000 to eliminate plans to include City Hall in the project and rework other parts of the planned complex. But council members changed their minds and on Monday asked the architects to nix City Hall from the plan, without changing the remainder of the project.

“Once you make that decision to move parts of the building around, it affects everything else,” said Ian A. Reeves, president of Architects Design Group. “It just goes on and on and on.”

The change will save the city money on the redesign, and it will have the project finishing sooner, officials said. Jones said that with the changes, the city plans to start building the project in late spring 2014.

The complex is slated to be built south of George Douthit Drive on a piece of city-owned property between Walmart and Jacksonville High School. The site’s new municipal court area will double as a public storm shelter.

The city considered adding another building at the complex to house City Hall, but the council has since decided to keep it closer to the city’s Public Square.

The architect, police chief, fire chief and city planners attended the morning meeting. Reeves presented a slideshow that included drawings of the redesign depicting one long main building, with a slight bend in the middle and a parking lot where City Hall would have been.

The plan the city will move forward with is similar. It has the same building footprint, but divides the long building into two parts.

The total cost of the project without City Hall is expected to be between $10.5 million and $11 million, officials said. That will leave the city with $3.2 million from bond debt it obtained earlier this year. Those funds will pay for the renovation or replacement of City Hall.

Reeves told the city leaders he will have the latest version of drawings to them by Friday. After that, the council will host a special meeting to vote on the plan, said Council President Mark Jones.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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