The Parker County commissioners unanimously approved two motions Monday morning related to the building of the new East Parker County courthouse annex — the square footage design and the construction procurement method.

The property for the building was donated by Morningstar developers Tim Fleet and Kim Gill in April 2016 and is in Precinct 4 Commissioner Steve Dugan’s area. The property is at Old Weatherford Road and Farm-to-Market Road 3325 in Aledo.

“Commissioner Dugan specifically wanted the court to approve the square footage of this building and there was information about the construction procurement method and the different options that we have, along with the timeframe that each delivery method would take,” County Purchasing Agent Kim Rivas said. “The current square footage is 8,019 square feet.”

Originally the courthouse annex was planned to be 6,000-square feet, but after receiving feedback, the square footage was increased. 

“We’ve had a very active committee to discuss input from the county. We covered all the basis to make sure we had feedback to make this the best building possible, not only to meet our needs today, but also in the future,” County Judge Pat Deen said. “There’s been a significant amount of thought going into this and input.”

The new annex will replace the building that’s currently being used for Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace on Ranch House Road in Willow Park. 

The schematic design includes space for Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace courtroom, offices, a lobby, a jury room and storage; offices for the constable; the tax office and lobby; an investigator office; a break room; and restrooms. The public will also be able to vote at the building as well as get their auto registration. 

“We had many meetings on that with input from each one of the people that will occupy that department and it’s mainly for the JP courtroom, but there’s an advantage to having auto registration and others in there and getting out of an old, leased building where you end up having to get repairs and it’s way undersized,” Dugan said. “I had a little heartburn over the square footage, but I think we worked to where I’m comfortable with that amount of square footage. I think it will serve us for a long time.”

The designs were prepared by Baird, Hampton and Brown. 

The different construction procurement methods included design-bid-build, design-build or construction manager at risk.

The commissioners decided to go with the design-build method. 

The design-build method the owner hires a general contractor and architect as a team to design and build the project for a guaranteed maximum price, according to the annex design document. The team contracts directly with subcontractors and are chosen based on best value. The owner must hire an independent architect to serve as the “eyes and ears” of the owner and look after the owner’s interests as the project progresses.

“We went out and did an estimate request for three local, very credible contractors here locally and so that cost is going to be significantly less than where we were initially looking at about $4.7 [million], it’s going to be way less than that,” Deen said. 

Rivas said the timeline will be about 20 to 21 months for the project. 

The project still needs to go through the city of Fort Worth’s permitting process.

“I concur that the meeting we had with Fort Worth was very favorable. They really came across as they wanted to help us with this project and move forward. My only thought on that is the permitting side needs to be started as early in the process as possible,” Shannon Nave with Baird, Hampton and Brown said. “It’s not that Fort Worth is going to try to slow down the project or anything like that, it’s not that they’re not going to favor the project at all, it is more along the lines of that they have a process. It’s just from my experience working with the city of Fort Worth on multiple projects, the earlier you can get in and do the permitting, the better it is generally for the project.”