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Commissioner opposes construction contract

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DIANA BUCKLEY

Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE - There was only one voice of dissension Monday as county commissioners voted to award a contract for construction of the Justice Center.

'I was not for it to begin with,' said Commissioner Ron Brown, pct. 4.

'The people voted against that in the bond election. I feel like that should be my stance, too.'

In a bond election in 1998, voters readily approved $5 million for refurbishing the historic courthouse in downtown Waxahachie, but rejected a proposal to spend $15 million to build a new county administration facility.

Not long after, county officials secured an $18 million Tax Anticipation Note to build both a scaled-down version of the administration building and a new jail.

A citizen's panel appointed to consider options for solving the jail over-crowding problem had recommended use of county-owned Super Collider buildings, an idea commissioners dismissed as 'not feasible.'

The county will enter into an agreement for construction services with Scott & Reid, G.C. of Addison, Texas, effective Jan. 2, 2001. Scheduled completion date for the project is Feb. 1, 2002.

The bid amount was $6,235,000. 'Our engineer's estimate was $6,395,000,' said Jo Bhore, construction program manager for the county.

'The bid from Scott & Reid was considerably less.'

Commissioners also voted to hold alternate bids from Scott & Reid for 60 days for further consideration. According to Bhore, the alternate bids were sent out just for the purpose of finding out how much other projects would cost, such as cleaning up the fa├žade of the existing jail.

Two representatives of Scott & Reid were introduced once the bid was awarded. County Judge Al Cornelius welcomed them to the county and thanked them for their bid before reminding those present about the groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. at the corner of Jackson and Main Streets in Waxahachie.

'If it is cold and icy,' Cornelius said, 'We will limit our outside speech making.' Cornelius promised some shelter would be put up at the site for the ceremony.

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