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New courthouse will open Jan. 3
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The big day is just around the corner for the Dawson County Courthouse and Government Center. The grand opening has been set for Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 10 a.m. and Gov. Nathan Deal will be the keynote speaker. The county will be hosting an open house on Jan. 3 from 5-7 p.m. for citizens who are unable to attend the morning ceremonies.

Construction on the new courthouse and government building is expected to be finished on Dec. 22 or 23, just 712 days since the first construction contracts were signed.

“There are mixed emotions,” Dawson County Special Projects Manager Bob Ivey said as the project nears its completion. “I’m excited to be finishing it, but at the same time it’s been such a part of my life for the past three years. Ninety percent of my time has been allocated to working on this project.”

Staff will begin moving into their new spaces after the ribbon cutting, but the building will be fully equipped on the big day.

Even though the building is almost complete the project isn’t quite finished. Phase 3 - which involves removing asbestos, tearing down the current courthouse and building secure parking - will begin shortly after the move-in date and should be completed by March 31, according to Ivey.

The four-floor, 111,000 square foot building cost approximately $15 million to construct.

This weekend the local Etowah Mason Lodge No. 222 F. & A.M. and members of the state leadership gathered to place the ceremonial cornerstone on the building.

As part of the long-standing tradition, the stone is checked, using ancient tools, to be certain it’s square, plumb (straight), and level because a building constructed on a poor foundation isn’t strong. Next, the cornerstone is consecrated with corn (or grain), wine, and oil - all of which are Masonic symbols of prosperity, health, and peace. Finally, the stone is symbolically tapped in place with a gavel.

Time capsule will maintain pieces of Dawson

The county is planning to preserve a bit of current history with a time capsule that will be installed at new courthouse and government center shortly after the grand opening.

The time capsule will feature photos of Dawson County, maps and population information; as well as local flavor, like seeds from local farms and the history books that are published by the local historical society.

The county is also looking for photos from the citizens that tell why you think Dawson County is a great place to live. The deadline for photos is Dec. 30. Winning photos will be included time capsule. Photos can be submitted by e-mail to or to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners office at ATTN: Time Capsule 76 Howard Avenue East, Suite 120 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534.