Ringgold city officials have wanted to install protective bulletproof glass at the main counter of City Hall for a couple of years now, and will bid out the work despite recent projections that show the project costing more than $40,000.

In December, the City Council tasked architect Kenny McDade with evaluating the project and presenting some figures pertaining to how much the work could cost.

During the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, City Manager Dan Wright revealed the "bad news" of how those figures are looking.

"The glass, due it having to be rated for a certain type of bulletproof, the estimate is about $20,000," Wright said. "The steel panels for the front of it come in at almost $7,000. To make it to where someone couldn't get over the glass and to give the glass something to secure against was about $5,500. So, you're up to about $32,300, and by the time you add the general conditions and the overhead and profit for a contractor of $6,500, and then by the time you add some contingencies of about $4,800, that puts us in the neighborhood of $43,580. Before we moved forward, we wanted to see if this is something the council wants to continue with before we put it out to bid."

Those projections are higher than what was anticipated, but Wright explained the importance of giving the city's staff a sense of security given the circumstances they deal with.

"We're trying to make it safer for our staff that works up there," Wright said. "The reason this is an important project is due to the fact that you have people coming in and paying their fines and dealing with people that are not necessarily water and sewer customers. A lot of the time we're dealing with people from other communities."

Wright says that the variables involved sometimes create less-than-ideal situations.

"We're dealing with people that are upset that they're here to begin with," Wright said. "We also have those situations where a child may have been removed from a household, or maybe a father went to a school to pick up a child and were told they couldn't do that for a reason, maybe a court had ordered it, and then they wind up standing here because they think Ringgold encompasses every court. We get some interesting situations sometimes, and sometimes they get pretty escalated, so that's the purpose of the particular project here."

Mayor Nick Millwood proposed that the board at least see what kinds of bids come in for the work.

"I wouldn't be opposed to getting bids to see what those actual numbers came in at," Millwood said. "I understand these are estimates and they're likely to be close, but I'm not opposed to seeing where the bids come in."

The council ultimately unanimously approved putting the project out to bid.

Councilman Terry Crawford, who has advocated for the project for the past couple of years, explained why he's so passionate about idea.

"I've worried about this for a long time," Crawford said. "When you look at the news and you see the church where they went in and just shot all these people. ... We're a small town, but we're not immune to all this. Those ladies we have working in there, I've talked to all of them, and they're scared to death at times when some of these people walk in. If this money spent can save one life or one injury, its the best money we can spend anywhere,"

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.