Old Georgia archives building coming down over Christmas holiday

The state of Georgia hopes to ring in the New Year by bringing down the old state archives building down the street from the Capitol.

The site will eventually be home to the state’s new courts building, which could be the most expensive state-funded facility ever built.

State officials had originally hoped the building could be imploded in August. But they said the company doing the work will first have to do asbestos remediation and remove parts of the building that can be used in other facilities.

“We are hoping for a day between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Paul Melvin, spokesman for the Georgia Building Authority. “That would be the least impactful on traffic because of the holidays.”

The project is expected to cost about $6.5 million. 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.

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 Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal to borrow $6.5 million for design and site preparation for the new judicial complex. Deal is expected to ask lawmakers to fund the courts complex during the next few years.

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