Two years ago, county and state officials first broke ground on the Love County Justice Center. According to Justice Center Construction Supervisor Bill Freeman, the construction is expected to finish in mid to late May. The only things that might slow the project down are bids yet to be posted or complications from weather.
“We’re still bidding two parts of the project,” Freeman said. “The commissioners will open bids on those next week.” The remaining bids include finishing the exterior dirt work and pouring the asphalt for the driveways.
“We’re also going into a (bad) weather time of the year,” Freeman said. “We’ve actually kind of already been in it for the last few months.”
He said they are currently mostly finished with the exterior of the building itself and are busy completing the interior so additional bad weather could hinder the remaining work to be done outside.
While the construction is coming along nicely there are still some issues that must be addressed before the Justice Center can open. A covered canopy above the entryway, and the fact that the Justice Center is not currently within the city limits of Marietta.
The original plans called for the entryway to be covered by an arched canopy. However, when the project went out for bid this was not included in the specifications.
“When the architect drew the plans up, even though he put it in the elevations he failed to put it in the specs for the steelwork,” Freeman said. “Because it was inadvertently left off the plans when the steel contractor bid it, it wasn’t in there.”
The mistake led to a $20,000 difference in the construction costs, and Love County Commissioners do not believe they should be responsible for the difference. Instead, they want the architect to pay for it.
Freeman said he is currently in negotiation with the architect firm regarding who is at fault but cannot say exactly how the issue will be resolved. He said one possibility would be to eliminate the canopy and use a sloped roof.
“That will be something the commissioners will have to decide,” Freeman said. “We’re going to talk about that at the next meeting when we discuss some of the other change orders.”
The special meeting will take place next Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the Love County Courthouse in the commission office.
Marietta City Administrator Dustin Scott explained the issue with the Justice Center being located outside the city limits of Marietta. He said that having the jail located outside of Marietta is no problem, but the sheriff’s office can’t be.
“They chose to build the jail there, but it doesn’t touch the city limits,” Scott said. “According to Oklahoma statutes the elected official has to have an office in the county seat.”
Therefore, Scott is busy working on annexing the land into the city of Marietta. The end result will impact some property owners.
“We’re trying to figure out the best course of action,” Scott said. “We’re still working on some things. We’re going to get it accomplished, it’s just going to take some time to get that done.”