By: Michael Campbell, News Editor
Appeared In: August 30, 2017 edition
DINWIDDIE – For those who frequent Courthouse Road and Boydton Plank Road, you would be remiss if you hadn’t noticed the flurry of construction activity all over the Pamplin Government Center parking lot back toward the Dinwiddie County Courthouse.
That construction is part of a multimillion-dollar project that will two new facilities, the county administration and human service building and a new state-of-the-art public safety building, rise from the now-disturbed dirt of the current complex and two other buildings be renovated and repurposed for their continued use.
Following the approval from supervisors to enter in the $24 million contract financed by bonds from the Virginia Resources Authority, work quickly began on the site, which eventually saw crews sectioning off part of the parking lot, reducing the capacity as construction crews built and paved a new parking lot that will provide more accessible parking to Dinwiddie’s current governmental home inside the Pamplin Administration Building that will link directly to Boydton Plank Road.
In an interview, County Administrator Kevin Massengill walked through the project’s progress while giving some insight into where the project goes from here.
Regarding the parking lot, Massengill expects the new parking lot, which features parking that faces the Pamplin Administration Building, to be turned over to the county for active use by those conducting business in the area before the end of August.
Once that new lot opens, the entrance to the government complex from Courthouse Road will end as crews will close that portion of the site to traffic as construction on the new county administration and human services building ramps up into high gear.
While the fall will signify the construction beginning on the new county administration building, roughly a football field away or so, foundation work is beginning to get underway at the public safety building, which is just off Courthouse Road and is next to the Dinwiddie County Courthouse. A point of pride for Massengill and county leaders, the new 23,000-square-foot facility will house much of the county’s public safety assets, from the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office, Fire and EMS administration, and emergency management, will all be housed under the same roof.
“This will be the first time in the county’s history that we have all of Dinwiddie’s public safety entities working out of the same building,” Massengill remarked. “When you talk about hazard mitigation and planning with the board of supervisors and we have a situation like inclement weather, we can operate our emergency operations center out of this new facility and that is something we are excited about.”
Expanding further on the new public safety building, Massengill said this new facility is being built with modern law enforcement needs in mind.
“Law enforcement today isn’t what it was in the 1970s,” the county administrator said, referring to the age of the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office’s current home. “Having the sheriff’s office in this new facility will further enhance our law enforcement approach,” Massengill continued, noting the department’s new home will feature an armory, the magistrate’s office, and other areas to assist authorities.
He added, despite rumors circulating in the community, the public safety building will not serve as a jail. Massengill said that there will be a holding facility built into the new public safety building, but that facility will only serve to hold inmates awaiting transport to Meherrin River Regional Jail.
With the sheriff’s office’s move to the new building, Massengill said they expect their current home to be repurposed, but the final decision on what could move into that building hasn’t been made.
Massengill noted that the public safety building is “a bit ahead of schedule” thanks to recent periods of little rain and they hope to have the building under a roof by winter to spend that time through the spring working on the interior and complete landscaping.
Back across the way, the new 54,000-square-foot county administration building would serve as the state-of-the-art home of social services, 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.
Offices for county administration, human resources, finance, the county attorney, economic development, planning and zoning, the commissioner of revenue, and treasurer would be located on the second floor, along with access to the geographic information system, or GIS, conference rooms, and building support spaces.
With all those services under one roof, the current home of county administration would become the renovated home of the Dinwiddie School Board. Massengill explained once staff moves to the new building in late-2018, work will begin to renovate the Pamplin Administration Building to serve as the school division’s central office. For Massengill, through his conversations with new schools superintendent Dr. Kari Weston, having a home for all of the school division’s needs is important.
“Many of the things the school division does are currently decentralized,” Massengill explained. “They are looking at this space and seeing what needs to come back to the central office,” pointing to examples such as special education services, school nutrition, and possibly buildings and grounds all working out the renovated building that the school board will call home.
“Having those key positions working alongside you creates great efficiency,” Massengill remarked, noting that the renovation of the Pamplin Administration Building for the school board should be completed by the early spring of 2019.
In addition, once the new public safety building opens in the Fall of 2018, the department’s current home at the corner of Courthouse Road and Boydton Plank Road will become the home of the county’s information technology department.
“This is going to truly be a one-stop shop for services in Dinwiddie County,” Massengill proclaimed.
As work continues and crews make progress toward the ultimate goal of erecting these new buildings, Massengill had nothing but praise for those working on the project, Armada Hoffler Properties’ construction division.
“Thanks to the dry weather, we have shaved off about six weeks and that has helped keep this project on budget,” he said. “Our experience with our construction partners has been extremely positive. This is the first time we have worked with them and the work they are doing is truly quality work.”
The entire project, from construction of the new buildings to the renovation of the other buildings at the site should be complete by 2019, with the new buildings opening in 2018.