Commissioners approved a $2.3 million budget for the construction of the building, which has yet to be designed.
The building, which will be designed and constructed by Lusk & Company of Alpharetta, will house multiple agricultural agencies including USDA officials, Georgia Soil and Water Commission agents and the Gordon County Extension.
Funds will be transferred from the solid waste budget into the general fund for the expenditure, Gordon County Administrator Randy Dowling told commissioners last Wednesday.
The building will be located on a five-acre tract donated by the Development Authority of Gordon County on Ga. 53 Spur, adjacent to the Northwest Georgia livestock pavilion.
“It’s going to help because it will consolidate everything in one place and create efficiency,” said Greg Bowman, Gordon County Extension Agent.
The building, which has been in the works for several years, could be up to 13,000 square feet in size, Dowling told commissioners.
The three agencies occupying the building will pay rent, which will cover the cost of the building within 25 years, Dowling said.
In addition to housing all three agencies in one place, the building will contain a 300-seat community room.
Dowling said the reason for the delay in building the structure is do to a lengthy approval process by the federal government.
Dowling told commissioners last Wednesday that the building construction will be fast-tracked and should be completed by September of this year.
The building is being fast tracked due to a government requirement that mandates the USDA be in a building in a certain amount of time, Dowling said.
Lusk & Company was chosen for the project through the request for quotation (RFQ) process rather than a bidding process.
This caused some concern among commissioners, especially newly elected member Norris Sexton, who felt the board should have had the opportunity to consider all the options available.
Dowling assured Sexton and fellow commissioners that the RFQ process is standard practice and that Lusk & Company was qualified to handle the project from beginning to end.
Sexton also expressed concern that the building has yet to be designed and, in essence, the members were approving funding for a blank sheet of paper.
“The end result will be a one stop shop for agricultural producers in the region,” Dowling said.
Dowling said commissioners will have the opportunity to review and sign off on the floor plan and the final budget, which should be ready by late February or early March, he said.
For more information on builders Lusk & Company, visit their website at www.luskco.com/contact.shtml