The $2 million expansion of the Jail-Justice Center is expected to get under way in early October, with completion a year later.
Thomas County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved expansion plans that will add 8,000 square feet to the 921 Smith Ave. structure, which opened in the early 1990s.
Areas housing the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, Thomasville Police Department and Thomas County Magistrate Court will be expanded. The jail portion of the building is not included in the expansion.
The project will be funded by revenue from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in 2012.
An expanded parking lot at the front of the building will be constructed first. A dozen parking spaces will be added.
“It’s a necessity,” said Sheriff Carlton Powell, in reference to the expansion. “We’re a growing county.” Technology and an increasing crime rate dictate the need for the project, the sheriff explained.
“We’ve run out of space to do our job,” Powell added.
The new part of the building will be constructed first, followed by renovation of the existing structure.
Said Thomasville police Chief Troy Rich, “It’s meeting the immediate needs and allowing us to expand in certain areas.”
The police department will expand in records, training and the criminal investigations division.
“We will work with the space allocated,” Rich said.
Chief Magistrate Andy Seery said the expansion will address concerns of his office. The project will provide more space and allow Magistrate Court to meet new challenges, Seery explained.
He said that in the next six to 10 years a lot of electronics will come to the Magistrate Court courtroom, along with more advanced courtroom security.
Changes to the judge’s bench in the Magistrate Court courtroom will allow a better view from the bench of the witness stand and court reporters.
In other business Tuesday, commissioners:
• Voted to close Vann Road, a dead-end stretch of about one-quarter of a mile. Property on either side of the road is owned by the same person, and the road leads to one house.
• Approved the purchase of 3,000-plus tons of asphalt from The Scruggs Co. at $67.50 per ton.
• OK’d the purchase of a washer and dryer for Thomas County Prison from Commercial & Coin Laundry Equipment Co. for a total of $13,195.
• Ratified an expenditure of about $12,600 with Cook Concrete Construction to form and pour a sidewalk on South Pine Tree Boulevard.
• Approved the purchase of three surplus 2009 transit vans for $5,500 each. One van will be used by the prison, the other two by public works.
• Declared surplus vehicles and machinery that will be auctioned July 18 in Midway, Fla.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.