The old jail is now vacant.

Dalton Municipal Court arraignments are moving to the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center beginning Wednesday because of the deteriorating condition of the former jail on Waugh Street.

For how long?

“I don’t know,” City Administrator Ty Ross said. “For the time being, we’re at the trade center.”

Negotiations between the city and county to use a courtroom in the courthouse are still ongoing, Ross said. Until then, the city will pay $900 each month to use the large lecture hall each Wednesday and for two Mondays a month. Ross said the fee will cost less than the monthly utility bill at the former location. During peak usage in January and June, utility bills were almost $3,000 monthly, he said.

“It’s a much newer facility and it’s cheaper,” Ross said.

Municipal Court offices will remain at the city’s Public Works Department at 535 Elm St. The court clerks are using the vacated code enforcement offices. The county now handles that service.

Dalton Public Schools owns the jail and the property. The City Council traded the jail and the property it sits on to the school system last year for the old school administration building on Hamilton Street.

However, the city will continue to use the large garages on the property for storage. The Dalton Police Department sometimes uses the property for training.

The building was closed for a week last month after a pipe burst, flooding the building. The county building inspector’s office allowed the city back into the building temporarily after the damage from the flood was cleaned up but refused to grant a certificate of permanent occupancy until additional electrical, heating and air conditioning work was done. Ross said the estimate for the roof repairs is $3,000 and the estimates for the HVAC work are between $10,000 and $15,000.

There were also complaints about mold and mildew.

If you have any questions about the move, call Municipal Court at (706) 278-1913.

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