GALLIPOLIS — After years of planning and discussion, ground was finally broken on Monday evening at the site of the future Gallipolis City Justice Center.
During the ceremony, city officials discussed the long road to the groundbreaking ceremony and thanked those involved in the process.
“We think that we are going to provide the municipal court, the police and the solicitor with an excellent facility. It will certainly be much better than what used to be here, it will be state-of-the-art, obviously. We’re excited about getting this project under way,” Gallipolis City Commission President Jim Cozza said. “This is coming to fruition only because of the hard work of a lot of people.”
The facility will house the Gallipolis Municipal Court, Gallipolis Police Department and Gallipolis Solicitor’s Office and will be constructed at 518 Second Avenue at the former location of the Gallipolis Municipal Building.
“We think it’s a very practical building, and we think it’s going to be an asset to our community. We think it’s going to be something that our citizens and those that come through here will find to be a very nice structure,” Cozza said.
Project Engineer Randy Breech also spoke during the ceremony and reported that approximately 8,000 square feet of the 1,300 square foot facility will be dedicated to the court-related offices, with the remainder housing the police department.
In addition, Breech outlined a tentative schedule for the construction and told the gathered crowd that plans are to have the facility under roof by the end of January. The interior of the facility will be completed late winter and the exterior will be finished in the spring. The justice center is expected to open to the public by July 2012. However, according to Breech, the entire schedule hinges on the weather.
“Keep in mind, we’re starting this in the worse construction year of weather on record and if that continues that could, of course, influence our schedule,” Breech said. “Assuming there are no serious influences by the weather, we should be in that building, I feel safe to say, next summer. So, that’s a whole lot better than where we were when we started.”
Gallipolis Municipal Court Judge Margaret Evans expressed her appreciation of the City Commission’s hard work, as well as her appreciation of the community for their support of the project.
“I really appreciate the commission and the work that’s been done to try to get a new building for us, a building that’s acceptable and workable,” Evans said. “There was a real need and this commission stepped up and decided that they were going to take care of the problem and I am very appreciative of that and I know my employees are also.
“It’s necessary and it’s nice when you see community members realize that a change needs to be made for the betterment of our community,” she said. “It’s good to the community come together.”
The construction of the $1.467 million facility will be under the direction of the Kinsale Corporation based in Chester, Ohio. Kinsale submitted the lowest and best bid for the facility and was awarded the project in late August.
Garrett Karr of the Kinsale Corporation, who will oversee the construction of the justice center, spoke briefly on behalf of his company during the ceremony.
“This is a project that everyone here has been waiting on for 15 years, and we are happy that we are going to be the ones to bring it to fruition and get it completed,” Karr said.
Funding for the facility has been provided through a 20-year, 3.91 percent fixed interest loan from U.S. Bank and Cozza recognized their contribution during the ceremony and alluded to the future construction of a separate facility that will house the city’s administrative offices.
According to Cozza, the commission is currently in the “discussion” phase surrounding a separate smaller structure that will be constructed to house the city manager’s office, auditor’s offices, tax office, code enforcement and utility offices. No permanent location for an administrative facility has been decided upon, but tentative plans set an administrative facility in the 300 block of Third Avenue next to the municipal parking area.