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Government center nears completion

Workers might begin moving into the new government center in downtown Thomson in early May.

That word came Feb. 9 from program manager Judson Bryant of Bryant Associates. He said the project is about 90 percent complete.

Officials from McDuffie County government and Thomson city offices got an update on the shared city-county government building and toured their new courtrooms and offices.

Mr. Bryant said a walk-through by the fire marshal is scheduled March 11.

"That will mean that the building is ready to be occupied," he said.

Basic wiring will be in place by Feb. 28, and more complex connections will be installed in March.

"We'll be ready for a shakedown by let's call it the end of April," Mr. Bryant said.

Mr. Bryant said a company will be hired to help move furniture.

"We have to coordinate that so we can have all that not just in an organized way, but in a way that works for you," he said.

He said employees will be asked to remove personal possessions from their workplaces before the move.

"The pictures of the kids and the dogs and the family vacation, you can bring back in here," he said.

He also explained the computer card-access system.

"It will allow everybody to get where they need to go, but not necessarily someplace they don't need to go," he said.

He pointed out features as he led the tour, including the hand-off of authority for prisoners going to trial.

"The transport team will end responsibility here, and the courthouse team will take responsibility," he said.

He noted that all of the judges' benches in the courtrooms are corner benches. "The judges are situated on the diagonal," he said.

The county clerk's office in the center of the building will seem spacious when the building opens.

"There is space for expansion as we grow over the next 30 or 40 years," he said. "This is the one space that will not be able to expand. So when you come in here on opening day, this area will look like a bowling alley."

Ruthie Thomas, the human resources coordinator for the county, welcomed the spacious new training room adjacent to her office. Her office presents programs on safety, drug and alcohol awareness, sexual harassment and other topics.

"It's much needed," she said of the larger space. "Right now we have to use the conference room in the library."

"I think everybody's excited," she said.

Some officials had questions, and some had concerns.

County Zoning Director Fred Guaranty questioned the size of the sign that already faces Railroad Street in front of the building.

"I think it's a little small," he said.

Mr. Bryant said the tour was useful. He said he believes all involved understand that all change recommendations are subject to budget.

Web posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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