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The Ellis County Commissioners Court finalized a $185,000 escrow agreement at its Tuesday, July 13, meeting that will help complete the sale of the former classroom wing of the old First Baptist Church building. The county is looking to use the building for additional office space.

After the meeting, County Judge Todd Little told the Sun that the city of Waxahachie is working with the county throughout the process to make the building usable and safe.

“The city will be assisting in the approvals because it is one building out of the three-building complex,” Little said. “The city has worked with us on the life safety features because the building was built in 1986 and it is out of code. So, the city has worked with us on the life safety and fire safety equipment that needs to be added.

“The purchase price is $1.25 million,” he said. “This agreement signifies that contract price and basically puts good faith in that we are going to finalize that closing in August. It guarantees that we are going to set aside those funds to make those improvements.”

The former classroom wing is a 30,000 square foot structure spread out over three floors that comes with two and a half acres of land. The city is working with the county to replat the structure and separate it from the remaining two buildings on the old church campus. The building will provide parking for county employees as well as provide additional parking for people visiting downtown or attending weekend events.

In a previous interview, Little said the county has hired the firm Kitchell, which specializes in general contracting, real estate development, program management, engineering, architecture, and facilities management to do 20 weeks of long-range planning for $283,466 and an existing facility needs assessment for $33,530. Kitchell will evaluate the building and interview departments heads at the county, which will help determine the building’s future use. The company will also set up public meetings in a town hall format where the community can provide input.

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