Whitfield County officials say they still plan to have a number of county offices moved into the Wells Fargo Bank building at 201 S. Hamilton St. by July 1.

Commissioners approved a two-year lease for the top three floors of the building in April. The county will pay $10,160 a month for a little over 18,000 square feet.

County Administrator Mark Gibson said the county will not be able to occupy the building until June 15.

"Currently there isn't anything happening regarding a build-out, moving, etc., as we are not able to occupy the space," he said.

But Board of Commissioners Chairman Lynn Laughter said she expects that will give the county sufficient time to move in by July 1.

"I think we can get that move done in two weeks," she said.

The lease kicked off a series of moves of county offices.

The Public Defender’s Office will move to the third floor of the Wells Fargo building from a 7,300-square-foot building the county is currently renting on Waugh Street. The county is paying $3,500 a month for that building.

County administration, engineering, information technology, finance, human resources and public relations offices will move to the fourth and fifth floors of the Wells Fargo building from Administrative Building 1, at 301 W. Crawford St. The building inspector and some other offices related to inspections will be moving to space on Gillespie Drive near a county gym.

Accountability courts offices — for Domestic Violence Court, Drug Court and Mental Health Court — will move from Administrative Building 2, at 214 W. King St., into Administrative Building 1.

Administrative Building 2 also holds the commissioners' meeting room. Laughter said commissioners have made no decision on where they will hold meetings. But she said there is a meeting space in the Wells Fargo building they could use.

Commissioners held some of their meetings earlier this year in various county buildings — the Edwards Park community center, the former recreation department headquarters on Gillespie Drive and Fire Station 11 in Cohutta — and public attendance did not seem to suffer.

The commissioners' last meeting in Administrative Building 2 will likely be the June meeting.

Administrative Building 2, at the corner of King Street and Selvidge Street, opened in 1967 as a church and has a number of structural issues. It is slated to be torn down. The Dalton Fire Department sent county officials a three-page letter last year detailing the ways the building fails to meet the fire code, including insufficient emergency lighting, use of extension cords because of insufficient electrical wiring and no central fire alarm system.

In March, the Dalton Fire Department sent county officials a letter telling them the county would have to vacate the building by April 1. The sides reached an agreement that the county could continue to use the building while commissioners decided what to do with it as long as they have a certified firefighter in the building performing “fire watch” patrol whenever there are people in the building.

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