Commissioner Robert Jones announced he has contracted for test bores to be drilled around the courthouse property in downtown Jasper as part of “the pre-planning” for future construction and expansion of the Main Street marble landmark. Jones’ announcement came as part of a very brief May commissioner’s meeting Thursday, May 26.
The county signed an agreement with Moreland Altobelli Associates, Inc. for “geotechnical drilling sub-surface investigation.”
The cost of the work is $5,400 and Jones said it is necessary to determine the suitability of the site for future construction. Jones said in this case, the sub-surface work is important, as it is known the Main Street location has held earlier buildings and may hide old “coal-bins,” unknown utility lines or other buried structures.
Jones said seeing if there is anything buried around the courthouse property that may have to be removed or dealt with in some other way will be important as an architect begins designing an expansion of the marble courthouse.
Plans call for six test holes, with the deepest going 36 feet. Jones said infrastructure and buried utilities aside, it is important to check the condition of the soil as the county continues to plan for a courthouse renovation project, budgeted as a $17 million item in a sales tax referendum approved by voters in 2008.
During a follow-up interview, the commissioner said the test holes do not indicate construction will be underway any time soon. He said there is no timeline for when work could begin.
“We’re in pre-planning to come up with a start date,” he said. He said this will continue with more scrutiny of the Main Street site, including the sub-surface investigation.
This discussion was the main subject of business during the May commissioner’s meeting that was wrapped up in less than ten minutes.
In other business:
• Director of Public Works Greg Collis reported that road crews will be improving/patching or repaving several routes throughout the county including Moore Road, Skidder Way and Grandview Road. Work on the extensive Grandview Road project will be funded through the state, he said.
• Marcia Jasperse was reappointed to the library’s Board of Trustees for a four-year term that will end in 2015.
The commissioner holds a public meeting on the fourth Friday of every month in the County Admin Building on East Church Street.