Bond projects take shape

Columbia County officials are seeking bids for projects funded with $38 million in bonds sold in February. The bonds are paying for construction and improvement projects. They will be repaid with penny sales tax funds collected from 2011-16.


WATER PROJECTS: Officials set aside $10.1 million in bond money for water and stormwater projects, according to county documents.

Engineering designs are under way for all projects, said county Water Utilities Director Billy Clayton. He said he'll start accepting bids in summer.

New water lines should get installed this year, he said.

GOVERNMENT CENTER: About $5.6 million in bond funds were set aside to expand Building C of the Evans Government Center on Ronald Reagan Drive. The building houses the tax commissioner's office, among others.

A design for the nearly 20,000-square-foot addition is under way. Paul Scarbary, the county's facility services manager, said he expects to start construction in November.

DETENTION CENTER: Proposals are being evaluated for a $4 million dorm at the Columbia County Detention Center. The construction of two 10,000-square-foot dorms was included in the sales tax package approved by voters in November. To ease potential overcrowding, officials approved one of the dorms as a bond project. An architect might be chosen this month and construction could start in May or June, Mr. Scarbary said.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Proposals for a $4 million consolidated Health Department facility on Chamblin Road are under evaluation. The facility will replace three department locations in Evans, Appling and Grovetown.

County Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker said construction likely won't start until next year.

ANIMAL CONTROL: Next to the Health Department on Chamblin Road, county officials intend to build a $2.3 million Animal Care and Control facility. The 12,000-square-foot building should be completed by April 2010, Mrs. Tucker said.

FIRE STATIONS: Bids are due soon to purchase three new fire trucks as part of a $6.9 million bonded project. Included are three fire stations to be run by Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue. Designs are under way for the Leah stations, which will be built south of Interstate 20 and near Sugar Creek.

EVANS TOWN CENTER PARK: Proposals for the first phase of Evans Town Center Park are due April 16. Officials set aside nearly $2 million in bond funds to develop four acres of the park closest to Ronald Reagan Drive. They will also use leftover park construction money from the current penny tax, for a total of about $3 million.

The first phase will include a parking lot, restrooms, a pavilion, picnic areas and the start of a walking trail. Community and Leisure Services Director Barry Smith said he expects construction to start this year.

EXHIBITION FACILITY: The county is working on an agreement with the Merchants Association to build a $2 million multi-purpose exhibition facility at the fairgrounds on Columbia Road.

Officials are preparing a project budget and will send out requests for design proposals.