By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: November 4, 2018 | 1:40 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Each day that passes brings Dinwiddie County one day closer to being able to finally move into their new state-of-the-art government center and as much of the final touches of interior work continues, crews have begun on the exterior aesthetics of the local government’s newest asset.
Over the course of October, landscapers have begun their work in and around the Dinwiddie Government Center building, mainly planting trees and other greenery on the grounds surrounding the building and the soon-to-reopen parking area that has been closed for the better part of a year due to the construction of the building.
Those newly planted trees surround a building that had a development cycle dating back to at least the start of the decade in 2010 as the county tasked Baxter Bailey and Associates with creating a master plan and executing a space needs analysis that would guide the creation of a facility that will not only last the county several decades, but also provide services at their levels with room to grow those services in the future as the county continues to see growth in a variety of sectors, including residential and commercial.
The results led to the building that has risen from the earth along Boydton Plank and Courthouse Roads in the county, a two-story, 54,000-square foot building that will serve as the new home for a number of county departments. According to county staff, Dinwiddie’s health department, the board of supervisor’s boardroom, children’s services, a training room along with “building support and storage spaces” on the first floor.
That first floor would be easily accessible from the side of the building that faces the Dinwiddie County Courthouse thanks to an entrance there, while those entering from the Boydton Plank Road-facing side will simply have to walk down a wide staircase that highlights the building’s main foyer area.
On the second floor, offices for county administration, human resources, finance, the county attorney, economic development, planning and zoning, the commissioner of revenue, and treasurer’s office will find their new home there come later this year. 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.
Also on the first floor, the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors’ will begin conducting their meetings out of their new boardroom starting in January of next year. The boardroom will feature plenty of seating for the public, along with new video and audio equipment while featuring its own dedicated entrance so the rest of the building can be secured without preventing the public from attending the meetings the room would host, which would likely also include the planning commission and other boards.
In an interview, County Administrator Kevin Massengill gave an update on where the new government center is on its timeline for completion, as other aspects of the transformation of the county’s government complex have been or near completion.
According to Massengill, furniture for the new building is either in transit or already arrived at the government center, allowing for the construction of various departments’ workspaces. He added that county staff has already begun preparations to start moving closed files and other non-essential documents to the building over the next few weeks as the November substantial completion date approaches.
Even though work is underway now to begin transitioning over to the new center, Massengill noted the county likely won’t be operating out of that building until the start of the year.
“We expect the organizational meeting of the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors right after New Year’s Day to be the first day the building is going to be open to the public,” he remarked.
Stressing that this is the community’s building, he said the county is fully intent on hosting some form of an open house to herald the building’s opening.
“When we look at the bigger picture here,” Massengill continued, “it is nice to have a new building for our staff to work in, but it is our citizens who now have one place to go and get anything they need [to have] addressed in county government.”
As the completion of the new government center approaches, the county’s information technology department has already moved into their new home, inside the former public safety building at the corner of Courthouse and Boydton Plank Roads.
With all of the county’s public safety assets, including the sheriff’s office, emergency communications center, and fire and rescue officials, all under the same roof at the new public safety building just down the road, which opened earlier this summer, the county’s information technology department was transitioned into their old building and has been working out the facility for most of October.
For Massengill, moving the department there was a logical decision.
“A lot of our data comes through that building anyway, so it just made sense for them to have their own building and have it be that one,” he said as he walked through the facelift the building received as part of the project, which included interior work, carpeting, a new sidewalks and other improvements. He added that the building was painted to allow it to better match the colors of the rest of the complex’s buildings, replacing the red exterior brick facade with a painted darker beige look.
The next phase of this multimillion project would come after the county moves out of their current home at the Pamplin building, which will become the central office of Dinwiddie County Public Schools.
During the course of 2019, the building will be renovated and updated, allowing for the school division to bring many of its departments back in-house and under the same roof, increasing productivity and synergy between those school system departments that haven’t been attainable in some time due to some departments being at other locations, such as school nutrition.
Massengill sees this project as transformative for Dinwiddie County and how it operates.
“This building and these projects touch every single aspect of Dinwiddie County’s local government,” he said, stressing that “while it’s never a good time to build new public buildings,” the way the county was able to do it without having to utilize a tax increase to help finance the $24 million project makes the building and renovating of these facilities unique.
“We were able to get the interest rates right close to their historical low, so the county was able to secure the project with just over a two percent interest rate, along with borrowing costs,” he said. “While these buildings will be paid off in the next 15 years, the value added to the county will last for years to come.”
The Dinwiddie County Government Center is expected to open to the public for the first time during the first week of January for the board of superviors’ organizational meeting.