Local News
Courthouse restoration discussed at meeting
By Allen Rich
Jan 29, 2019
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Fannin County, Texas -- "We want voters to get a courthouse they are proud of."

That statement by Fannin County Judge Randy Moore summed up the perspective of county officials at a meeting held Thursday, January 24, 2019 to discuss restoration of the 1888 Fannin County Courthouse.

This meeting was the second opportunity for county commissioners court, the county auditing team, Fannin County Historical Commission and Turner Construction to become engaged in a process that will result in a functional, historically accurate and maintainable courthouse that voters will expect to be on budget.

Texas Historical Commission, which has a $5 million dollar investment in this project and significant oversight of the restoration of this 128-year-old limestone structure, was not represented at the meeting, although that was likely due to the preliminary nature of the discussion.

Turner Construction is the Construction Manager-Agent firm hired to advise the county in a fiduciary relationship, which means that the Construction Manager-Agent owes the county the highest standard of care and loyalty under the law. The Construction Manager-Agent is not allowed to work on construction and cannot be a party to any of the construction subcontracts.

The contract between Fannin County and Turner Construction is on the county website.

The contract calls for commencement of construction of the 24,010gsf building to begin Aril 1, 2019, with a substantial completion date of October 31, 2020. The contract states that the county's budget for the cost of work is $15 million.

The contract also stipulates that Construction Manager-Agent submittals will be reviewed by David Chase and Anne Stimmel of Architexas, James Malanaphy of Texas Historical Commission, along with the county's representative.

The first sign of work on the courthouse will likely be removal of the black mastic on the courthouse and breaking up the concrete that surrounds the structure.  A timeframe for these two projects could be discussed Tuesday, January 29 at the regular meeting of Fannin County Commissioners Court.

"I believe the people of Fannin County are greatly interested in what is happening in regards to the courthouse restoration," remarked Fannin County Judge Randy Moore. "This is the second 'kickoff' meeting with Turner Construction.  I am pleased that there were so many professionals present at this meeting.  I thought we would be working with ONE person, but no, several from engineers, financial managers to project managers.  And I am very impressed with our county people involved in the project.  Alicia Whipple - county auditor, Sherry Zindars - assistant auditor and Dean Lackey - Commissioner Pct. 4.  Commissioner Lackey is our point man for this project and has knowledge of construction and also great respect from our other commissioners.

"I was very pleased the Fannin County Historical Commission could be there at this meeting.  Barbara McCutcheon, Malinda Allison and Larry Standlee were present to participate in the discussions.

"I was also pleased our news media was present.  Allen Rich with North Texas e-News and Malinda Allison who writes for both NT e-News and the Fannin County Leader.

"Our take-away from this meeting is we are just starting and a lot of things must take place before we hit the start button on the renovation.  That process may be several months in the making.  This may push our completion date 3-4 months back but what most people want to see is; a beautifully restored courthouse, stay in our budget and complete it in a timely manner.

"There are a few things that will begin in the next month or so.  This will include the 'cleaning' of the courthouse, which is removing the black mastic and paint from the building.  Also, Commissioner Lackey said the county will remove some of the concrete around the building.  This will also help in lowering the cost of the final project.

"Personally, I am confident the people that have been hired (Turner Construction Company) and our Fannin County people will see that a beautifully restored courthouse will be completed in a couple of years.  It is my goal to make sure the citizens of Fannin County are kept abreast of the progress.   I am EXCITED and I know you are too.  Let us 'live together in unity' so our county will be blessed."