Justice Center work smooth, contractor says

Moody Kennedy, who has family ties to Clay and Lowndes counties, talks to Clay County Supervisors Joe Chandler and Luke Lummus about custom-made truck and trailer work during Monday's meeting.
Staff Writer

Work on the new Clay County Justice Center is running so smoothly the only hiccup could be if county department heads don't confirm electrical outlet locations.

"Everything is framed in and we are going to start putting sheetrock on one side. We need each person to come to their office and confirm where the electrical and computer outlets need to be," Benchmark Construction President David Marsh told Clay County Supervisors Monday.

Confirming the positions now will avoid changes later once walls have been finished or having to run long cords in offices. The walls also will be insulated to reduce noise and improve temperature control. That makes getting the outlet locations even more important.

"They may all be in the right spot on the drawings. But it's a lot easier to pull a wire when the wall is empty than through a bunch of insulation," said Marsh.

Chancery Court Clerk Amy Berry, who has been one of the county's coordinators for the $3 million project, said county staff hoped to tour the building with architects and contractors Thursday afternoon.

Benchmark is the lead contractor and construction manager in the 20-year lease-purchase deal done through the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District's tax-exempt government construction arm.

The county is renovating the former Jitney Jungle/Pass It On building into three courtrooms, offices, meeting rooms and other space for Justice and Circuit courts. Work has been under way for more than four months on the 20,000-square-foot building and remains on schedule for completion next spring.

"Everything is going great. All the local subcontractors have performed. Everything remains right on track," Marsh said.

He also praised the county's role in prompt payments, which benefits the subcontractors and their crews.

"The efficiency in which we are getting paid is huge. When are getting checks within a matter of days and immediately cutting them out to the contractors. Some are not used to that, they are used to waiting 30 or 60 or 90 days," he explained.

In other business Monday, supervisors:

-- Approved a resolution and property access agreements for the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District to extend the debris removal it is doing on Line Creek in western Clay County out Buck Creek, which also is clogged with trees, debris and beaver dams. The work on Buck Creek will end the three -month project which has cleaned out more than five miles of Line Creek and the canals that were dredged almost 100 years ago to improve drainage;

-- Heard a proposal from Moody Kennedy, of Carthage-based H and H Chief Sales, for custom-built truck beds, trailers and other equipment. It was somewhat of a homecoming for Kennedy, whose parents moved to Clay County in the 1950s when his father worked for Bryan Foods, and he now has a brother, sister and other friends and relatives who live in Columbus and Lowndes County.