More Moore?

Apparently, the Hawkins County Buildings Committee is still confused over where to locate various county offices once the former K-Mart building turned Bluelight Special Justice Center opens in 2009.

As I understand it, this week, the Committee voted to move the chancery court and clerk’s office, which is currently located on the first floor of the historic courthouse in downtown Rogersville, up to the second floor where the circuit court and clerk’s office is now located.  The new Justice Center, which was the former K-mart building, will be the home of sessions, circuit, and juvenile courts and their clerks’ offices. The old circuit courtroom being awarded to chancery court, which leaves the second floor of the courthouse annex vacated.

Hawkins County Election Commission, which currently has offices on the first floor of the main courthouse, had requested that soon-to-be available space (including the juvenile court offices, courtroom and adjoining judge and probation offices.) The Building Committee initially granted the request- with the provision that early voting take place on the first floor – but then Commissioner Fred Montgomery  suggested that the county consider those county departments and offices located in rental spaces before making a final decision.

The committee also agreed to direct architect Tony Moore to make a study of the best usage for available square footage at the courthouse and annex – so he can form some idea of which offices will be located in the 172-year old courthouse and begin drawing plans for the renovation.

Anyway, I have obtained a copy of Hawkins County’s Current Plan – click to embiggen.

And wait a minute… back that up… are we contractually obligated to use Moore for the courthouse renovation? Not that there’s anything wrong with Moore: it’s just that every county project he’s touched has been pushed over budget, delayed and chocked full of unpleasant surprises.

When the courthouse suffered termite damage in `98, Tony Moore offered the County Commission a $3,000 estimate for architectural, structural engineer fees and testing – the bill ended up being $5,300. On the last courthouse renovation in early 2000 or so, he gave the committee an estimated cost of $966,000… that figure escalated to $1.14 million and then 2.5 million if I’m not mistaken. Of course, only $70,614 of that was architectural fees.

Then, when Moore was in charge of the Bluelight Special project, which originally had a June `07 opening date, weakness in the concrete floor slab and insufficient water pressure were discovered after the fact – driving up the estimated cost by over $600,000 and causing the project to be delayed until late `07. Additional delays were encountered when one of Moore’s consultants suffered health problems.

While I’m not implying all of these things are Moore’s fault, I am starting to think he might be jinxed… therefore our continued use of his services could only mean he’s related to one of the county commissioners or in possession of a photo depicting one of the committee members in fishnet stockings and a tutu.


3 thoughts on “More Moore?

  1. Quick comment….why does the county need an architect to decide who goes where????….almost like hiring someone off the street to tell you who gets what bedroom in your house….and where the living room would be…and who gets what bathroom…sounds like a leadership issue here.

  2. Tim, we require an architectural study because this involves highly technical scientific-type stuff – like using a tape measure, assessing current usage of space, future needs , taking into consideration public traffic flow and accessibility and then, drawing authoritative boxes with arrows and submitting this to Commissioners.

    Sometimes, I forget you’re fairly new here. 🙂

    Back story: Fred Montgomery was on the commission during the “where do they go” mess with the courthouse annex. There was mass confusion. No one could agree on office placement. At one point, DA Berkley Bell actually wound up costing taxpayers $300-$350 a day when he refused to vacate his offices because the new office was smaller. Perhaps, commissioners are hoping department leaders will be more accepting of an architect’s plans – and yes, it is a leadership (or lack thereof) issue.

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