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Commission Updated on Courthouse, EMA/EMS and Ross Bowen Projects

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The Toombs County Commission got an update on progress on the EMA/EMS building, Ross Bowen Complex, and new courthouse construction projects during its monthly meeting on September 21.

Commissioners unanimously approved the replacement of the current EMS/EMA Building radio system for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The building on Maple Drive was formerly the administrative annex for Meadows Hospital and was owned by the Hospital Authority. The previous system will be fully removed from the structure since the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) does not need this device and it is considered very antiquated in comparison to modern technology used by many EMS agencies.

This new radio system differs from the previous system in that the alarm will be sounded in each room of the EMS portion of the building, as well as outside in the ambulance bay, rather than being one loud horn sounded throughout the entire premises; also, each location of the system will allow personnel to adjust the alarm volume. HUB Electronics will install the new system, which costs $16,987. County Manager John Jones said that the EMS/ EMA building will be ready for occupation around the second week of October. Ross Bowen Complex

Jones also informed the Commission that the Ross Bowen Complex will be competed by the second week of February 2022. The construction of this Complex follows the demolition of the Ross Bowen Building, which was located next to the current Toombs County Courthouse and which housed the UGA Extension Service, the Superior Court Public Defenders Office and the USDA Service.

USDA was able to secure a permanent location, but the county purchased a five-acre tract on Bulldog Road to house the UGA Extension Service and the Public Defender’s Office. Since the master plan for this tract called for the construction of a building and two more future buildings, the County decided to name the entire area the Ross Bowen Complex.

New Courthouse

The new Courthouse construction is consistently progressing, as shown through the visible changes in the structure, according to Jones. Rain has delayed the completion date of the building by an extra two days, but still leaves the tentative completion date in December 2022. Jones said that currently builders are preparing to pour the concrete footers over the next two weeks and begin erecting the steel after that.

Jones praised the diligence of the construction crew. “They have done a miraculous job on the new Courthouse considering how much rain we have recently received,” he told the Commission.

This new courthouse construction is the third stage of an ongoing project to address issues in the current Toombs County Courthouse and Detention Center, which were found during an internal evaluation of county buildings in 2015.

In 2016, the county created a strategic plan to fix these problems by preparing a feasibility study for these structures, beginning to develop a design and plan for the construction delivery method of the buildings, and completing the design and management of the construction project.

Phase 1 was completed by Hussey Gay Bell in 2019; Phase 2 was finished by April 2020. Construction began on the new courthouse in February 2021. This construction costs $35,890,000 and will be funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) collections.

Other Action Items

Commissioners approved the official closure to the public of County Road 60, better known as Wilson Cook Road. This closure comes at the request of Dexter Stanford, whose family owns most of the property along the road. All precautions and procedures of the road closing process were completed, and neither the public service and safety officials nor surrounding residents had negative comments regarding the action. Thus, this roadway, which stems off Gray’s Landing Road, was closed due to lack of public purpose.

An alcohol license was granted to the Country Pantry for the remainder of 2021. This business has existed several years and has been awarded an alcohol license in the past, but because the ownership shifted from previous owner Shobhana M. Patel to current owner Radhika Mautraye Amin, a new license was required.

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