By Hayley Kappes

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – The Bell County District Courthouse will experience further additions and expansion through 2010, and they're coming at a reasonable price.

The Bell County Commissioners Court on Monday approved a guaranteed maximum price of $21,379,414 for the expansion by the construction company, Skanska USA Inc.

The district courthouse, located off Loop 121, will have a second wing added on the east side of the building that will house the county courts at law, the tax appraisal office, drug court and juvenile probation.

County Judge Jon Burrows said the expansion will allow these county offices to finally be housed under the same roof and save money on office rental costs.

The construction will also add more parking spaces.

Burrows said the county got a favorable rate on the construction bids from Skanska because with the economy in recession subcontractors are willing to work for lower prices.

Burrows contacted U.S. Rep. John Carter in Washington, D.C., asking if Bell County would be able to receive funds from the stimulus package that could help pay for the expansion.

He said Carter received his inquiry, but no word has been received if or when Bell County would receive any money.

During the commissioners court workshop, Sheriff Dan Smith said inmates were successfully transported from the old jail to the new facility at the district courthouse that recently finished construction.

Smith said some inmates needed minor medical attention, mostly for existing conditions, but the transition was smooth. It began at 6:30 p.m. Friday and took a little more than 12 hours to finish.

Visitation for inmates is currently suspended.

Other commissioners court action:

The existing outdoor burn ban was extended for another 30 days. It will expire March 23.

A tax abatement agreement with George and Michelle Clark Moore, owners of Nellie's restaurant in Belton, was approved by the commissioners.

Burrows was elected the the executive committee of the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group.

Contact Hayley Kappes at or (254) 501-7559.

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