PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Courthouse continuing along its path to recovery from Hurricane Michael. The Bay County Courts and Clerks facilities committee met and approved a plan to move the clerk functions to an empty facility on McKenzie Avenue.
“With that building being vacant, it’s a great spot to put some of the clerk function. New construction is so expensive right now, if we can reduce the cost of construction that’s something we’re after. Courts agreed and the Clerk agreed that that’s a good facility for us just to remodel and not have to remodel from scratch,” explained Keith Bryant, Bay County Public Works director.
The previous plan was to remodel unoccupied space in the existing courthouse for clerks and construct a separate building for courts. However with the new plan freeing up space, the existing courthouse will be shared between courts and clerk. This will decrease the construction square footage needed for the new courthouse and help save money.
“Post-storm prices have gone up, I think we’re all aware of that so every square foot that we can reduce that building saves the taxpayers money and that’s what we’re after. By utilizing this existing building, remodeling is much cheaper. Hundreds of dollars per square cheaper than building a new building,” said Bryant.
The new plan is estimated to save around $500,000. The remodeling of the McKenzie building is expected to take 6 to 8 months.