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Ground broken on county bond project

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Diana Buckley

Ellis County Communications

WAXAHACHIE While the ceremony itself could easily be characterized as "short and sweet," the line of dignitaries on hand to usher in the construction of the new county facilities

approved by voters in May of 2007 was a long one.

"I’ve been doing groundbreakings in Ellis County for 24 years now, and I’ve never had a 35-shovel groundbreaking before!" quipped Congressman Joe Barton.

"We just think this is a groundbreaking, but the judge said this is the day labor crew for tomorrow!"

Barton thanked the residents of Ellis County first, for approving the sale of bonds necessary for the facilities complex, which will include a courts and administration building, an addition to the detention center, and a parking garage that is being constructed by the City of Waxahachie on a portion of the county’s land.

He also recognized the commissioners’ court and the Waxahachie City Council for their work on the joint venture, as well as the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee.

"I hope this building stands the test of time, as the building a block to the west has done," he said. "And that we continue to have the prosperity that we have had for the last 108 years."

Waxahachie Mayor Ron Wilkinson quoted Winston Churchill as saying "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us."

"That particular building has shaped us," he added, indicating the historic courthouse clearly visible behind the line of newly turned soil.

"This is a new adventure, a new segment in life, and we all pray that it will be a renaissance for the City of Waxahachie and for Ellis County."

"Truly, this is the public’s building," said County Judge Chad Adams.

"For years to come, we will be able to maximize the use of these facilities."

Commissioner Ron Brown, pct. 4, extended his appreciation to County Engineer Joe White and Jones Lang LaSalle Project Manager Jon Vidaurri.

"I feel a lot better about this project than I did the last one," Brown said.

"Joe and Jon, I know that you will see it done right."

A number of members of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee were on hand, as were representatives of Balfour Beatty, the construction manager at risk; HDR Architects; Jones Lang LaSalle Americas; members of the Waxahachie City Council; and many elected officials.

Proposed occupants of the new Courts and Administration building include two County Courts at Law, two District Courts, the County Clerk, the District Clerk, the County and District Attorney’s office, the Law Library, the Department of Development, the Fire Marshal’s office, Information Technology, the County Engineer’s office, the Tax office, two future courtrooms, and some 20,000 square feet of unfinished space set aside for future growth.

The jail expansion will include new construction of over 85,000 square feet and renovation of approximately 7,600 square feet, for a 288 bed capacity. The three floors of the parking garage will accommodate approximately 300 vehicles; it is to be open to the public and free of charge.

Plans and elevation drawings remain on display at the historic Courthouse.

Adams paused early in the ceremony to offer a word of prayer, asking in particular for the blessings of safety, clarity of thought, and integrity for those involved in the construction project.

cheer and a round of applause rose up as 35 shovels tossed the soil into the air.

"As we close today, let me just say that we look forward to seeing all of you at

the ribbon cutting!" said Adams.

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