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New public safety building almost ready
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It's almost move-in time for Gainesville's public safety officials.

Project manager Barclay Fouts updated City Council members at Thursday's work session, outlining a timeline for moving and beginning operations.

"I know it's been a while since you all have been out there and saw the building," Fouts said as he passed around aerial and inside photographs of the building.

"The courtroom area, where you will have future meetings, is impressive with high ceilings and chandeliers and woodwork on the walls."

The building passed state elevator and fire alarm inspections Wednesday and will undergo a final inspection today before movers start bringing in furniture on Monday. Workers also will install phones and computers over the next two weeks, and the Gainesville Police Department will be able to start a patrol unit in the basement on Oct. 18.

"There are display cases in the lobby, and police have things picked out to go in there," Fouts said, pointing at the photographs. "Things are going to look really nice. There's a bronze seal in the center of the lobby floor, and throughout the building we have nice storage units. When we get in there and get opened up, everybody will want to walk through."

Fire station furniture will arrive at the building Oct. 14 and the firefighters' phone installation will start Oct. 18, Fouts said. Both departments will complete the final move-in during the Oct. 28 weekend and will be ready to open all operations Nov. 1.

"We're looking forward to the invitation," council member Danny Dunagan said with a laugh to Police Chief Brian Kelly and Fire Chief Jon Canada. "It looks really good. I rode around the property on Sunday."

Once moving settles down, the departments will hold a grand opening of the building in November for residents to tour the new public safety complex, City Manager Kip Padgett said.

"I want to tell you how proud I am of you and the staff for coordinating everything so well," council member George Wangemann said to Fouts. "It really looks good and shows we have a professional staff that knows what they're doing. These things are not easy with so many details."

City Council meetings will start in the public safety building in January, Padgett said.

"A remote-controlled screen comes down for presentations, and there's a monitor to view the information," Fouts said. "TV 18 also has four remote-controlled cameras
throughout the courtroom. You'll look like movie stars on the big screen."

The city received bids last week for the demolition of the old public safety building on Jesse Jewell Parkway.

City officials will review the applications to demolish the two-story structure, a one-story gun range and the surrounding parking lot before submitting final proposals to the council.

"The other facility is 30 years old, and we thought we were ahead of the curve then. Now we're in that position again," council member Bob Hamrick said.

In other business, Hamrick passed around a Southern Living article about disc golf, a game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target.

Hamrick presented it as a possible future addition to Gainesville's recreation opportunities, and council members seemed interested in the idea. Mayor Ruth Bruner noted it might be possible along the new greenway at Gainesville's Midtown area.


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