The Bay County Commission selected JRA Architects to design required renovations to the new federal courthouse at 533 E. 11th St. in Panama City, which is the current Bay County Juvenile Courthouse.
PANAMA CITY — Architects were selected Tuesday to design the new federal courthouse in Panama City.
During its regular meeting, the Bay County Commission selected JRA Architects to design required renovations to the courthouse at 533 E. 11th St. in Panama City, which is the current Bay County Juvenile Courthouse. Juvenile justice operations will temporarily move to the former Panama City City Hall at the Panama City Marina and a new juvenile courthouse will be constructed by the county on the Bay County Courthouse campus.
JRA was chosen out of three firms. DAG Architects and VBA Design also were considered. The county and JRA will negotiate costs.
“We’re excited to finally get this thing moving. It’s going to be at a quick pace. We’ll be working with GSA to determine what needs to be done, if anything, to the courthouse, any type of renovations to meet their criteria for the federal courthouse,” Commissioner Robert Carroll said. “We had three applicants. They were all extremely high-qualified but (JRA) had the most courthouse experience. We needed someone that really had background in courthouse design and staff felt like they were the best one for this particular project.”
Bay County risked losing the courthouse but kept it after the community advocated for it to stay.
East Avenue bridge project
The commission also approved agreements with other agencies to move forward on the East Avenue bridge replacement project. Commissioners approved a locally funded and off-system project agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for right-of-way acquisition. Construction is expected to begin next year.
Right-of-way acquisition is estimated at $123,100 and under the agreements, local agencies are required to match 25 percent, which comes to $30,775. The county will match $10,258.34, and the City of Panama City and Port of Panama City each will pay $10,258.33.
“The project has been designed. This is a good way for us to leverage our tax dollars,” Carroll said. “This bridge is really in bad shape. The port is going to utilize it, the city is going to utilize it and the port is currently is in an expansion mode, so they need that bridge for the additional traffic and jobs being created out there.”
In other meeting news, the commission approved:
• A request from Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford for $67,000 from the Crime Prevention Fund to go toward crime prevention and safe neighborhood programs.
• Urging state legislators to prioritize estuary program funding in the Panhandle and throughout Florida.