Georgia archives building could be imploded during legislative session


Well, that’s one way to get the General Assembly’s attention.

The Georgia Building Authority is now saying it will be March before it implodes the old state archives building down the street from the Capitol. Depending on the timing, the General Assembly could still be in session at the time and could be voting on the money to replace the archives with a pricey new state courthouse.

State officials had originally hoped the building could be imploded in August. But they said the company doing the work would first have to do asbestos remediation and remove parts of the building that can be used in other facilities. The building authority then announced this summer that the big blow up would occur between Christmas and New Year’s.

But Paul Melvin, spokesman for the Georgia Building Authority, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that the 51-year-old building needed more asbestos remediation before it could come down.

The new court building that will replace it will likely cost more than $100 million, although state lawmakers have not yet approved funding the facility’s construction. Depending on Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget recommendations in January, lawmakers may get a chance to vote on it during the 2017 session.

The “White Ice Cube,” as the old archives building has been called, was built in 1965 on Capitol Avenue. About three decades after it opened, engineers determined that it was sinking due to groundwater and nearby interstate construction. Estimates to repair and refurbish the archives hit $40 million.

Instead of spending the money, a new archives facility was built near Clayton State University, and the old archives building has been used as a movie set on and off for years.

Governors have sought to tear down it down since the move. But lawmakers have been skeptical about spending money on the project.

This year they approved a state budget that included Deal’s proposal to borrow $6.5 million for design and site preparation for the new judicial complex.

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