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Sheriffs office plans to build new headquarters
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners is set to approve a $257,000 contract Thursday for the architectural design of a new sheriff’s office.

The new administrative headquarters would be constructed at the 33-acre Government Center campus on Browns Bridge Road, and about $5 million has been budgeted out of SPLOST VI monies to fund the proposed 50,000-square-foot, three-story building, according to county officials.

“All the necessary infrastructure, including power, water, fiber optics andparking, is readily available at that site, which will save taxpayers money and reduce the time required for construction,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news release.

The addition of the sheriff’s office will make the Government Center “more of a one-stop shop for citizens,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.

The headquarters is now located at 610 Main St. in downtown Gainesville, the site of the old county jail.

That facility was sold to the city of Gainesville in 2012, and the sheriff’s office leases it from the city, with that lease set to expire in 2017. Another portion of that same building once housed an immigration detention facility run by the Corrections Corp. of America, which vacated the building at the end of 2013.

Couch said the sheriff’s office considered remodeling the CCA facility and old Regions Bank building in downtown Gainesville, but renovations would have exceeded budget, and building on the Government Center campus became the most cost-effective option.

Also, being near the Government Center would allow the sheriff’s office to use the meeting space available, Couch said, and one floor of the building would be left empty for future needs.

“It does allow for growth,” Couch said.

Couch also said the existing sheriff’s office is “bursting at the seams,” and that broken heating and air systems, as well as the fact some closets have been turned into offices, spell the immediate need for a new complex.

Commissioner Jeff Stowe said the county had been exploring options for a new sheriff’s office for the better part of a year, and that it had become clear building a new facility would ensure the best use of taxpayer money.

Contractors will be hired to build the framework of the structure, and Hall County crews and inmate labor will finish the interior, Couch said.

Couch said the construction timeline was about 18 to 20 months.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will vote on the design contract with Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung International Inc. when it meets at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

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