Bay County Courthouse Annex Construction Back On Track

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PANAMA CITY - Bay County Courthouse expansion plans seem to be back on track. County commissioners received an update on the courthouse annex at Tuesday's commission meeting.

Bay County's courthouse annex could finally see the light of day soon.
County officials are working closely with Yates Construction from Destin and several architects to finalize design plans.

"We've got a definite direction. We've got everybody on board and everybody in agreement with what we need to do to get this thing going and I feel much better about it and I think we have something now we can all support," said George Gainer, a Bay County commissioner.

This hasn't always been the case. Previously, county officials claimed the project was $2 million overbudget and behind schedule.

So officials, architects, and the project's contractor brought their plans back to the drawing board and cut nearly five thousand square feet off the annex. Some of those changes include slightly smaller courtrooms, chambers, and one less elevator.

"At this point, my biggest concern is that we move forward in a timely manner and that we get this thing started," said Gainer.

County officials say the new design plans are almost finished.

"We want to meet one more time with the architects and the contractor to go over these documents. We don't have anything in writing yet, but we have a lot of good ideas and head nodding. Until we get it in writing, we won't know if we're sure, but we think we're there," said Ed Smith, Bay County Manager.

Smith says the new plans should be at or below the county's budgeted $12.5 million.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the new plans at their next meeting in two weeks. Construction should begin shortly after.