Commissioners' Hall is currently under construction in Marion County.
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Marion County Mayor David Jackson explains the change orders needed for the project to the Marion County Commission at its meeting on Tuesday.

JASPER, Tenn. — The second building at the Marion County Regional Institute of Higher Education is almost finished, and now it has a name.

At the Marion County Commission's May meeting, County Mayor David Jackson recommended the new building be named Commissioners' Hall in recognition of the board's support for the project.

"This building has had a lot of moving parts, and a lot of people have went a long ways to get this project going, but no more than the 15 men that sit here at these tables as county commissioners," he said.

The board put $450,000 into the budget for matching funds on a $1.5 million grant, Jackson said, and approved another $400,000 out of the county's general fund to meet the bids and begin construction.

"Without you all's support and pushing to get this done, especially approving the funds, it wouldn't be down there," he said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the name for the building that will house Chattanooga State industrial trades classes such as welding.

Commissioners' Hall is about 95 percent complete, officials said, and will be open for classes this fall.

The board also voted unanimously to ratify two change orders for the construction project at its meeting.

Several months ago, the board approved a change order to remove some bad soil that was found on the site.

When the site preparation was done, "everything looked good," Jackson said, but when the paving contractor arrived to begin concrete work on the parking lot, more problems were found with "soft ground."

"The cheapest solution [the contractor] found they could do is cut about a foot out of [the problem area], and then mix it back with dry cement, wet it and compact it," he said.

The total cost for the work was almost $20,000, but it was broken up into two separate change orders of $9,992 and $9,928 because existing statutes wouldn't allow Jackson to approve anything over $10,000 without the board's authorization.

"We couldn't hold up the project to get that parking lot paved down there," Jackson said.

Commissioner Kenneth Cookston asked if this new problem was related to the previous change order regarding the bad soil at the site.

Jackson said it wasn't.

"When [the contractor] took it down to grade, they had to take about 4 1/2 feet out to get it down to grade," he told the board. "When they left, it was so solid. There's just some soft places in there for some reason that popped up after we took it back down to grade."

Commissioner Donald Blansett said the original undercutting of the soil was done on the first building project about five years ago and had nothing to do with the current contractor.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at