By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Historic jail to begin renovation process
Newton County

NEWTON COUNTY – The Newton County Board of Commissioners opted to approve a bid awardance that will kick start the process of renovating the historic jail.

Board members opted to unanimously approve a contract bid from Sunbelt CM Design Build in the amount of $56,500 to begin the process of restoring the historic jail.

The funding will come from the 2011 SPLOST – which allocated $1,132,000 for this project.

Project manager Jeff Prine stated that this was the only company in contention, as the other company in the bidding process was not up to compliance and did not provide all of the necessary paperwork.

Before the vote, District 4 representative J.C. Henderson asked if the asbestos had been removed from the building. Henderson also wanted to know what would be done with the jail once it was completed.

“This is something we’ve been struggling since I’ve been on this board is about completing that historic jail and then once we completed [it] I mean what exactly what were we going to do,” Henderson said. “At one point it was going to be some kind of museum and for all of Newton County, which I was just wasn’t for that.”

Prine answered the first question from Henderson, stating that a property analysis would be done to start the process of rehabilitating the exterior part of the building, and not the interior.

The project manager also clarified that the $56,500 would be used for the design services, property assessment design and pre-construction. 

“The intent is that we will work with the stakeholder group which is the Newton 6 for the historic element of the building and then 4-H and the county extension who will be moving into the building for their facilities,” Prine said. “We will be working with both of them in the design phase and we’ll come back to you to guarantee a maximum price for construction and rehab.”

Henderson, however, had a disagreement with this.

“I don’t think that any afro-american history should be in a jail,” Henderson said.”I think it took a long time to get out of the jail. I think it should be a neutral area whereas if we’re going to do history, let’s put all our history together in it rather in a jail.”

District 3 commissioner Alana Sanders asked Prine for clarification on what the $56,500 would be used for. After Prine answered, Sanders would then question the practicality of the money allotment.

“Wouldn’t it have been feasible to have done it all together and came with us with the full price,” Sanders said. “Having the actual company go inspect the building and come back with their price then you have your renovation price and have been a collective effort.”

Prine would state that the design and preconstruction would need to take place before anything else could take place. The design process would be the first phase in this project.

Following the discussion, the vote passed 5-0.

Other business

  • A number of other items were also approved at the latest board meeting.
  • A conservation zoning decision for the Twin Rivers subdivision (Approved 3-1-1; Sanders opposing, Henderson abstaining).
  • An intergovernmental agreement between the NCBOE, Newton County School System and the Covington-Newton County 911 for a radio expansion between the three entities. This will be of no cost to Newton County (Approved 5-0).
  • A clarification of ARPA funds for low income senior home repair program approved at the July 18 BOC meeting (Approved 5-0).
  • A request of approval to accept the FY24 COSSAP Naloxone grant from the criminal justice coordinating council in the amount of $3,250 (Approved 5-0).
  • An approval of an alcohol license at Kroger on Salem Rd in District 3 (Approved 5-0).
  • An approval of the Jan. 16 BOC minutes (Approved 5-0).