By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON – The new county courts building project will be taking its baby steps just as the new jail opens its doors.
In the next two months, Bell County officials expect to offer a bid for a construction manager and a project architect for the $21.5 million county courts building planned for the site adjacent to the new Bell County Jail at the Bell County Justice Complex.
On Tuesday morning, the Bell County Commissioners Court approved the first step in laying out the practical details for the county courts building, funded through the 2008 bond program. The court's approval allows county auditor Donna Eakin to advertise the architectural request for qualifications for the design development of the project.
Eakin said after Tuesday's meeting that she will be accepting applications for the proposal until the Sept. 30 deadline. The proposals will be heard the week of Nov. 4, with a contract likely awarded by the end of November.
This is not the design contract; this is merely the architectural assessment, Commissioner Richard Cortese said. It allows architects to evaluate a detailed cost assessment based on site construction costs, facility amenities and cost breakdown for the structure, which will have a similar theme as the new district courts facility.
The new courthouse will house five additional courtrooms for the county courts, attorney and clerk offices, which will replace the current facilities in downtown Belton on Second Street and allow a majority of county operations to be located in one complex.
The court also approved the change of Killeen's Precinct 208 polling place from Cedar Valley Elementary School to Timber Ridge Elementary School at 5402 White Rock Drive in Killeen.