Convention and Expo Center completion on target
County to fill vacancy created by White-Rogers election
Driving down Farm Road 1442, you will see notable changes taking place to the building being constructed for dual purpose to the county. Exterior paint is going on the building and this week the side spandrel panels are being installed by wielding them to the structural steel of the building portals.
Director of Emergency Management Jeff Kelley gave commissioners an update Tuesday on the Orange County Convention and Expo Center.
“A lot of ceramic tile is going on inside and a second coat of paint in some areas. It’s coming down to trim work in a lot of areas,” said Kelley. “Substantial completion has to be reached about 30 days from now. It looks like they are gonna make it. The main issue is getting gas to the building. That is a supplier issue, not the contractor. It’s going to happen, but it’s going to be tight. You’re going to see drastic changes on the outside.”
Commissioners gave the Orange County district attorney’s office permission to fill two positions that will be vacated by Mandy White-Rogers’ election as judge to the county court at law. Unlike most newly elected officials who will be sworn in to office in January, White-Rogers was elected to fill an unfinished term and will be sworn in as soon as she is qualified. The legal secretary in the district attorney’s office has turned in her notice as she plans to follow the newly elected judge.
“We’re a little early on the agenda item as they are not vacated yet, but they will be soon,” said Assistant County Attorney Douglas Manning said, “If it wasn’t this urgent, we would gladly wait” until the first of the year to fill the positions, but most of the work White-Rogers did for the county involved Child Protection Service cases and protection orders. Manning said CPS cases have certain deadlines that have to be met and delays are not allowed in most instances. He said there is a CPS trial coming in early December and can’t be put off.
Commissioner Precinct 4 Jody Crump said under the circumstances he moved to allow the replacement. It passed unanimously.
County Offices to close part of Dec. 7
It was voted to close county offices 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday Dec. 7 for departments to hold their individual Christmas Luncheons. Crump was the only dissenting vote. “I’m still going to maintain my Scrooge image,” he said. Crump doesn’t approve of the closing of county offices for a Christmas gathering.
No public hearing next week
A public hearing that was originally planned for next Monday at 1:30 p.m. will not be held. Manning was checking into the possibility of selling or leasing the former Precinct 3 justice of the peace office to an individual that has shown an interest in the building. It will require more research as to the legalities. Manning said as a public entity there were more requirements to habitability of the building than if it was a sale between private parties. Manning will continue to research the situation and report back to the commissioners with his findings at a later date.
Commissioner Precinct 2 Owen Burton asked if it would be possible to give him the building and lease the land. Manning will check all possible options.
James Fountain of G&G Enterprises and Billy Stephenson (below) watch as Joey Harvey and Carl Broussard from JBC weld spandrel panels to the structural steel of the portals of the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. The exterior of the building is also in the process of being painted. The building is expected to be essentially complete in about 30 days. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux