Monroe County Commissioners could be in a bind after learning on Tuesday, Dec. 3 that their new judicial office building on L. Cary Bittick Drive could cost more than $2.6 million.

Builder Warren Selby of Warren and Associates presented commissioners with an estimated cost of just over $2.63 million to construct the building, which will house the district attorney and public defender’s offices. The total cost amount includes $1.9 million in building costs, $132,000 in design fees, $350,000 in sitework and utilities, $50,000 in landscaping and $200,000 in contingency. Selby said the building, designed by Bob Brown of BTBB, Inc., will be 11,820 square feet in size, will have brick on the full exterior and will have a shingle roof.

Following Selby’s presentation, District 1 commissioner Larry Evans urged the builder to figure out a way to cut costs, saying the county only allocated $850,000 in 2020 SPLOST proceeds for the project. Evans said he had no idea the cost would come in more than triple the allotted funds. Evans noted that the county’s administration building, where the Dec. 3 meeting was held, cost $3.6 million to build in 2012 and at 22,108 square feet is almost double the size of the proposed judicial building. 

Evans said, “This is a costly situation.”

Selby replied that building costs have risen dramatically since the administration building was constructed.

He said, “I can assure you the way the building is designed and the process we went through is to keep it as economical as we can.”

Selby said final plans and cost amounts should be available in January.