Commissioners delay approval of Cousins Gym contract for renovations

COVINGTON - County commissioners recently tabled a decision on whether to approve an architectural agreement for the renovation of the historic Cousins Gym.

The contract proposed by Richard Wittschiebe Hand out of Atlanta is for $108,500.

District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing recommended delaying a decision until the contract could be more thoroughly reviewed.

The contract proposes on-site services while construction is ongoing, a service Ewing said he did not believe was used during the renovation of the Cousins School.

"It seems to me that while we have the money budgeted, we ought to let the people who own the property look at it and see if all these services are needed," Ewing said.

"I'm certainly not opposed to it but at the same time, if we don't have to spend $108,500, I would hope we would not spend it unnecessarily," he added.

Ewing said he expects the item to be on the Feb. 19 agenda.

County commissioners have allocated $500,000 in special purpose local option sales tax revenues toward the project.

In addition, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation is providing a $250,000 grant.

The Newton County Recreation Commission will use the gym as a "satellite recreation center," according to Director Tommy Hailey.

The gym will mostly be used by basketball teams that are running out of space and time slots in the Turner Lake Park Gym, he said, and will be open to the community as well.

Students with Project Adventure will use the gym for physical education classes during the day, while recreation teams will occupy it at night and on weekends, said Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey.

The renovation will include improvements to existing locker rooms and adding classrooms offices, and storage rooms.

Meanwhile, rehabilitation of the football field near the gym is ongoing.

In addition to being playing space for recreation teams, school teams may also use the field, Hailey said.

The field is expected to be completed by April and open for games by September.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.