Thomasville Times Enterprise

March 29, 2014

Commissioners address space needs

Patti Dozier

THOMASVILLE — Nothing is in stone yet, but Thomas County commissioners will address a number of space needs before the end of the year.

The Thomasville firm of Jinright, Ryan & Lynn, Architects & Planners is conducting a feasibility study of Thomas Plaza/Hancock Center and Hill Building renovations.

Also being looked at is the 911 center, which originally was designed for 5,000 square feet. “They cut it to 2,500. It’s out of space,” said Commissioner Wiley Grady, commission public properties committee chairman

911 center equipment must be upgraded by the end of the year. Grady would like to see new housing coincide with installation of the new equipment.

Reconstructing the 9,500-square-foot Hill Building on West Jefferson Street to accommodate 911 is among possibilities.

The Hill building currently houses the building department and county extension office.

The structure would be gutted, with the interior remodeled to accommodate current and future 911 needs.

Grady said the building’s heating and cooling system is more than 30 years old and will cost $80,000 to replace.

A county building permit now requires going to three places — an environmental office, mapping and the building department.

If the building department were moved to Thomas Plaza/Hancock Center on Smith Avenue, it would be adjacent to the mapping department.

With that plan, leases with two business that now occupy space at the location would be terminated. The businesses have been notified of the possibility.

“They will be given plenty of notice if we decide we need that space,” Grady said. “They have been informed of that.”

  The businesses pay a total of $13,500 annually to lease the spaces.

The public defender office now at the Smith Avenue location could occupy 911 space once the 911 center moves.

Among the plans discussed is relocating the extension service to an all-new structure on county property. The transit service office might also be housed in the building.

“All this is pure speculation,” Grady said.

County government has set aside $1.5 million in a building fund to finance needed work. Some of the money was derived from the sale of the old bank building that previously housed county tax offices.

Commissioners hope to have the architectural firm’s recommendations in about 30 days.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.