2018 in Review: Dinwiddie leaders chart future for county with new buildings

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: January 5, 2019 | 2:45 p.m. 

DINWIDDIE – As 2018 descends into the background of many people’s minds, the in-depth conversations had during the course of the year and in year’s past by the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors came to fruition as several county projects prepare to either come online or get ready to undergo their major developmental stages.

Two of those projects are hard to miss for travelers along Boydton Plank Road and Courthouse Road with the completion of the new state-of-the-art Public Safety Building and Dinwiddie County Government Center.

During the summer, dozens made their way outside into the muggy weather to herald the opening of the county’s new public safety building, a spacious building that brings all of the county’s public safety assets together under one roof for the first time in county history. 

The public safety building serves as the home of Dinwiddie’s sheriff’s department, fire and EMS, and emergency communications, all under a roof that covers a 23,000 square foot facility that is the formal home of all things Dinwiddie County public safety and emergency services. The center features new runs for the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office K-9 units, new office space for members of the sheriff’s office and emergency services, and space for a brand-new emergency operations center and dispatch area.

In addition, the facility features holding areas for inmates awaiting transport to Meherrin River Regional Jail, vehicle bays where the county’s tactical crew and prepare their gear and head out when needed, and a fitness area for deputies and crews alike to stay in shape.

The building also has meeting space for regional emergency preparedness and response, should the need arise, along with space for Sheriff D.T. Adams to hold regular meetings with deputies and staff, after years of being unable to have all of his deputies under the same roof. 

During the ribbon-cutting event on June 22, Sheriff D.T. Adams was overwhelmed, having worked in the department’s old building for years, a building that had aged beyond its usefulness for the department, but the office made the best of the old home. 

“Over 40 years ago when I started, I never thought I would see anything like this,” he said following after cutting the ribbon with members of the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors, Fire and EMS Chief Dennis Hale, State Senator Roslyn Dance and Delegates Lashrecse Aird and Roslyn Tyler. “This building is so important because the citizens of this county are going to benefit so much it.”

“This building is going to save lives because we are able to work in one building together and everyone knows the definition of working as a team; together, everyone achieves more,” Adams said. Now, if something happens, we have everything right at our fingertips to be able to bring services to the citizens of this county.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Dinwiddie Fire and EMS Chief Hale as he spoke with his fellow emergency officials following the ribbon cutting.

“It’s a little bit like being a kid at Christmas and a little bit like being the dog that finally caught the car,” Hale remarked with a smile. “This is a beautiful building and we have never quite had anything like this before that allows us all to be under one roof.”

For Hale, the Dinwiddie Fire and EMS Department is still in its infancy, having only been founded in its current form in the early 1990s and having a facility like this with the kind of vital resources at their disposal creates an opportunity for growth for the department into its future.

“It’s sad to say but one of the limiting factors that kept us from doing some things was space, both physical space, and technology,” he said of their former home at the corner of Courthouse and Boydton Plank roads. “That building served us well, but we really had outgrown it so this facility just allows us to really look at possibly expanding our services and some things that we never really had the ability to do.”

Just across the parking lot from the public safety building, the Dinwiddie Government Center rose from a formerly empty plot of land that served as the old home of the health department and social services office. 

In development since 2010, the Dinwiddie County Government Center will be open for business as of January 2, welcoming the community inside their new home after many county departments moved from the Pamplin Administration Building.

The two-story, 54,000 square-foot building will serve as the new home for a number of county departments. On the first floor, accessible through street-level parking on the courthouse-facing side or via a wide staircase or elevators, Dinwiddie’s health department, the board of supervisor’s boardroom, children’s services, a training room along with “building support and storage spaces” will all find their new home on the first floor.

On the second floor, easily accessible through the Boydton Plank Road-facing side and the same staircases and elevators, offices for county administration, human resources, finance, the county attorney, economic development, planning and zoning, the commissioner of revenue, and treasurer’s office will all be located there beginning this week. In addition, services such as the geographic information system, GIS for short, conference rooms, and building support spaces will also be located on the upper floor of the center. 

While the two new buildings highlight the project at the government complex in the heart of the Village of Dinwiddie, two other projects tied to the new buildings also have or will see substantial completion during 2019.

Following the opening of the Public Safety Building, officials with the county worked to convert the old home of emergency communications inside the brick building at the corner of Courthouse and Boydton Plank Roads into the new home for the county’s information technology departments. According to county officials, it was a no-brainer to move the department into the building as much of the county’s technological infrastructure moved through that building even before the move during the second half of 2018.

With the county, save the registrar’s office and school division, no longer operating out of the Pamplin Administration Building, work will begin to convert much of the building into the new home of Dinwiddie County Public Schools. 

According to county officials, the entire building is expected to get a facelift with new paint, flooring, and other transformative work to allow for the school division to use the building in such a way that allows them to bring many of their departments that aren’t currently under the same roof back together for the first time in years. 

The entire project is expected to take several months and should be finished by the mid-point of 2019.

Copyright 2018 by Womack Publishing
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