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  Augusta-Richmond County Judicial Center & John H. Ruffin Jr. CourthouseAugusta-Richmond County Judicial Center & John H. Ruffin Jr. Courthouse

Capital Improvement Program Manager

Heery International, Inc.
999 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309

General Description

Location: Augusta, Georgia
Date Bid: Mar 2009 Construction Period: Jan 2009 to Apr 2011
Total Square Feet: 183,339 Site: 8.11 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 69,496; second floor, 65,087; third floor, 29,036; fourth floor, 19,720; total, 183,339 square feet.
Building Height: First floor 0’; second floor, 14’8”; third floor, 18’; fourth floor, 14’8”; penthouse, 29’7”; total, 95’1”.
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, pre-grade beam, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: CMU, brick. Roof: Metal, membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.

Project Team

Architect of Record: Turner Associates/Architects & Planners, Inc. - 3350 Riverwood Parkway, #1900, Atlanta, GA 30339
Design Architect: Ricci Greene Associates - 158 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001
Associate Architect: The Woodhurst Partnership/Woodhurst Architects - 607 Fifteenth Street, Augusta, GA 30901
Construction Manager: Potts Construction - 981 East Freeway Drive, Conyers, GA 30094
Mechanical, Plumbing, & Fire Protection Engineer: Pruett Ford & Associates, Inc. - 1201 Broad Street, #3A, Augusta, GA 30901
Civil & Structural Engineer: Cranston Engineering Group, P.C. - 452 Ellis Street, Augusta, GA 30901
Electrical, Audio-Visual, & Voice Data Engineer: Electrical Design Consultants, Inc. - 1201 Broad Street, #1A, Augusta, GA 30901

Augusta, Georgia was in need of a new judicial center and courthouse. Services were scattered across a number of facilities in different locations. In addition the facilities were outdated with inadequate courtroom technology, HVAC systems, and security.

Following passage of a special purpose local option sales tax, Augusta-Richmond County had the opportunity to enhance some of the city's most noteworthy facilities including the design and construction of a new judicial center.

Hired in 2004 as the county's Capital Improvements Program Manager, Heery International, Inc. first assignment was to review the judicial center's capital program that had been completed in 2003.

The review led to several suggestions including a reduction in the building's size from 300,000 to 200,000 square feet. And after review again reducing another 19,000 square feet from the plans. "By evaluating and subsequently adapting the project"s scope, we were able to better meet the client's financial requirements, saving the county at least $30 million,- noted Heery Project Director Don Green.

Following Heery's suggestion, the county utilized the construction manager at-risk method for procuring the construction phase services for the project. "By using CM at-risk, we were able to issue bid packages for the site, foundations, and concrete framework for early award," Green said. "As a result, groundbreaking could take place in late 2008 with construction completed in early 2011. Both milestones exceeded initial expectations."

An unusual characteristic of the project was its location on a transitional plane between different geographic zones ' The Piedmont and Coastal Plain. A geotechnical firm recognized the soil could potentially liquefy in the event of seismic activity. The solution was to drive more than 600 auger piles to stabilize the foundation and eliminate the possibility of movement.

The center includes the county's first sallyport, allowing officials to transport prisoners directly from police vehicles to holding cells. Separate elevators for prisoners, visitors, and judges offer an additional layer of security.

The lobby is impressive with 35-foot-high ceilings, blended limestone-porcelain tiles, wood panels, sound absorption panels, and an expansive bank of windows. "Like the city itself, the building is gracious but simple," said Heery Project Manager Lindsay Johnson.

Looking back over the project, Johnson believes part of the facility's success stems from involving all user groups in the design and construction process. "The county now has a facility that not only meets budget requirements, but will serve judicial needs for years to come".

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