ROGERSVILLE - "Little things," that is how architect Tony Moore described the unfinished work at Hawkins County's new Justice Center. "I think we are close to locking them up," was the optimistic assessment Moore gave the Hawkins County Commission Building Committee at a Tuesday afternoon meeting. Moore estimated construction work on the building should be completed by Jan. 1, although he said several factors will ultimately determine when county employees and jail inmates actually move into the building. Moore did note there is still some work to be completed dealing with items "on the security side" in the jail and a special order door that is on order but has yet to be delivered and installed. "It's just menial, little things," Moore explained. "If you walked through it you would think it was done. We have got people up there programming computers, but it just takes awhile to get it right because we have got to work out the kinks and the bugs." The county purchased the former Kmart building on Highway 11W in July 2005 and plans were developed to convert the former retail structure into a facility housing the circuit, sessions and juvenile court offices and courtrooms, the sheriff's office and a 232-bed jail. After dealing with design problems including floors that were not as thick as construction plans indicated and water pressure water pressure at the site, bids were solicited and the county accepted a bid from Hale Construction, of Morristown, in October 2007. Moore said final inspections will ultimately determine when the building is put into use. "The fire marshal will be coming back to do a final inspection," the architect said. "The fire marshal has been good to work with so this isn't a fire marshal issue." He also said the new jail will have to be inspected and approved by the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI) before inmates can be housed in the facility. Sheriff Roger Christian has also said he wants to have adequate time to train jail personnel before inmates are moved to the facility. "When you put prisoners in there is at your discretion, and I don't know when the inspections are scheduled," he said. Commissioner Claude Parrott noted since the project has already taken longer than anticipated there is no need to rush the final completion. "We need to make sure that building is complete, that everything works in the building as it should, everything passes inspection, and everything is ready to go," Parrott said. "We don't need to move into a building that isn't complete. What's a few more days?" Committee members voted to hold their next meeting at the facility although no date was set for that meeting
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