County Offers Big Bucks for Church

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Brazos County Commissioners think they've found a solution to the county's office space problems. And they're looking to their neighbors for help.

The Brazos County courthouse is busting at the seams.

" We've got offices in the courthouse right now that are just completely cramped," said County Judge Randy Sims.

County commissioners believe they've found a holy solution. They're willing to put $2 million on the table for the First Baptist Church building.
The church is 88,000 square feet, located about a block away from the courthouse and sits on 4.8 acres of land. The county says the church would provide much needed space for years to come and would keep county offices close together.

" I think we've got some administration offices in the courthouse right now that we can move out and provide some space for the district clerk, county clerk to move into the church buildings and be able to better serve the citizens of Brazos County," said Judge Sims.

But the deal is not done yet. The church still hasn't said yes.

" Well, we're pleased to have that offer form the county and will present that offer to our congregation to allow them to speak regarding that. The congregation has to vote," said Bill Wiman with First Baptist Church.

The county also approved a $20,000 earnest money contract, which the church will receive up front pending a building inspection.
First Baptist Church is already building a new facility on the Highway 6 bypass near Briarcrest Drive. Church officials say they are landlocked at their current location and want to move to a more thriving part of Bryan.

The county hopes to use the church's Maxwell Center to house it's I.T. Department as soon as next summer, but won't be able to utilize the rest of the buildings until January 2007.

The First Baptist Church congregation will meet Wednesday night and take a vote on the county's proposal.

As for an update on other county business, architects are working on new plans for the Expo Center. The old plans were discarded due to the rising costs of construction and materials. The new plans will include a slightly smaller center.