by Lee Ann Roy
Dawson News & Advertiser
Governor Nathan Deal will give the keynote address next Tuesday, Jan. 3, at the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the new Dawson County Government Center.
All citizens are invited to attend the event at 10 a.m. An open house will also be held Tuesday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for those unable to attend the morning event. The new center is located at 25 Justice Way in downtown Dawsonville.
The grand opening for the 111,000-square-foot building, which will house county offices, at least four new courtrooms and a secured jail connection, comes two years to the month after the Jan. 28, 2010 groundbreaking.
Dawson County government and judicial offices and services will begin moving into the new government center Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Dawson County officials say the move will be conducted in several phases and is expected to be completed by early February. There may be time periods during the month-plus moving process when some county records may not be easily accessible, and delays in retrieving information could occur.
At no time will Dawson County government offices be closed during regular business hours, however, with the exception of official holidays.
As the public gets acquainted with the new building, there are some nice touches inside and out that citizens are likely to be especially happy about. Among them: The landscaping and the artwork.
The architect conducted an actual tree count to ensure that we not only minimized the destruction of existing trees but also to assure the number of replacement trees exceeded the number removed, Dawson County Special Projects Director Bob Ivey said in 2010, as the site work for the project got underway.
A total of 32 trees were removed to be replaced by 84 trees including 37 red maples, 15 red buds, seven willow oaks, four elms, four cherry trees, four dogwoods, and six magnolias. The landscape plan blends the new building with the natural scenery.
On the inside, works of local artists will be showcased in 29 locations, thanks to a partnership between Dawson County Government and the Dawson County Arts Council and Bowen Center for the Arts, announced in October.
Some items will be placed on permanent display, while others will be exhibited for six months to a year, offering opportunities to bring in new pieces regularly, said County Manager Kevin Tanner. Uniform signage will be in place so visitors may contact artists to discuss purchase of pieces.
Not only does this offer the county another venue to display our local talent, it also provides cost savings to our taxpayers on the interior design on the building, Tanner added.
Funded by a one percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) approved by more than 87 percent of voters in 2007, the $15 million-plus facility has been said to be the least expensive public building of its type constructed in the state in the past dozen years.