Steps to bring about a new agricultural center for Holmes County continue to come along.

The County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) chose Dewberry Engineering to handle what’s called construction engineering and inspection (CEI) services for the project, which in layman’s terms means they will inspect the work done.

Dewberry is already an existing contractor who handles other engineering work with the County.

A 14,000 square-foot prefabricated metal building with interior buildout for offices and conference rooms and open-air arena will be built by Chipley-based Contracting Unlimited.

“We want to see that new ag center come on up,” County Coordinator David Corbin said. “That’s been a desire of ours for four to five years, ever since I’ve been here. It’s another dream coming true. I’m so proud of our new ag center that’s fixing to go up.”

The BOCC did not need to go out to bid for CEI services and was able to select from current County engineers.

Corbin and County Attorney Nate Nolin recommended Dewberry, based on their conversations about the matter and Dewberry’s existing work with the project.

“Dewberry already has their hands in it and they can get things done quicker,” Nolin said. “I think the risk of changing it up at this point might outweigh the benefit. I don’t know what type of backlog that will create. I have to show deference to Dewberry.”

Corbin said he didn’t want to slow the project down.

“This thing started out three years ago,” Corbin said. “We’re now getting to the point where we’re fixing to see boots on the ground, shovels in the dirt, and the commissioners are going to have a nice big ag center with their name on the plaque.”

Corbin further said he was proud of the coming new center and is glad the County obtained appropriated funding for the project, which is the third of four phases of a $4 million appropriation funded by the Florida Legislature two years ago.

“I’m proud the community is going to have an ag center they can start using,” Commissioner Clint Erickson said.

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