Another meeting needed to approve changes in Jacksonville’s municipal complex design
by Laura Gaddy
Dec 04, 2013 | 2890 views |  0 comments | 112 112 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville city officials in a Wednesday meeting identified design changes they want made to finish plans for a new municipal and public safety complex.

Police Chief Tommy Thompson pointed to specific features that need to be added, such as a door between the jail and booking area. Fire Chief Wade Buckner said the drawings need to include glass doors on fire engine bays and a slightly smaller training area for firefighters. City Council members decided to schedule at least one more meeting between department heads and the architectural firm to amend the plans.

“I don’t feel comfortable without talking to someone before moving forward,” said Stan Batey, the city’s project manager. “I don’t think you can do what we need to do without them being present.”

Though a firm, Architects Design Group, has completed its drawings, the plans won’t be finished until the small corrections are made to the drawings, Batey said.

Reviewing the plan again will help curb costs by reducing the number of changes that builders have to make after construction begins, officials said. They added that some confusion over the finer points of the project came when the architectural firm changed project managers for the complex.

This isn’t the first time the city has been through the final design phase of the project with architects. The city and the firm completed the same process earlier this year, but learned when the cost estimate came in over budget that it would have to be reworked.

The city borrowed $14 million for the project, and a June report from an architectural firm estimated the building at $3.5 million over that amount.

At the city’s request, the architectural firm reworked the project, eliminating a new City Hall, a second story of the planned jail and several non-essential items from the plans, Batey said.

It took the firm about three months to redraw the plans and give them back to the city. Now city leaders are trying to schedule a meeting with the firm before Christmas to move forward on the project.

Batey said the changes that need to be made now are a common part of the planning process for government projects.

“They’re small, minor issues,” Batey said.

After the plans are complete, the architectural firm will draw construction plans, a process that is likely to take between three and four months. Batey said the city may be able to allow contractors to bid on the project in May.

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

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