By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @DinwiddieMonitr
Posted: November 26, 2018 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – While the chill in the air and faint sounds of Christmas tunes signal the approaching holiday season, for those working at the Pamplin Administration Building, it also harkens to final preparations being made ahead of their move into their new home less than a football field away.
Dinwiddie County officials have begun the process of moving over old and closed files and other materials to the new Dinwiddie Government Center building, the two-story, state-of-the-art new heart of government for the county ahead of its expected 2019 formal opening.
Crews are still actively working inside and outside the building as they finish critical detail work inside the building, from lighting to signage, molding and trim work, and furniture construction and installation.
Earlier this month, railings for the front of the building, which faces toward Boydton Plank Road arrived as part of the new handicapped-accessible ramp that is part of the front facade of the facility.
In addition, county officials said planting and landscaping work has been progressing well as crews worked through much of October into November to plant dozens of trees around the campus and in the newly configured parking lot area, which has reopened to the public for the first time since 2017, when construction of the new building ramped up.
Over the course of the next several weeks, Dinwiddie County leaders said staff will continue to transition documents and other materials over to the building while maintaining full operations out of the Pamplin Administration Building.
The hope is to have all county departments transitioned over to the new building during around the week of or after Christmas, with plans to hold the Dinwiddie County Board of Supervisors’ first meeting of 2019 inside their new state-of-the-art boardroom within the first few days of January.
The boardroom, which features its own dedicated entrance that will allow the rest of the building to be secured without restricting access to the meeting area, will have the same amount of seating as the current meeting room inside the Pamplin building, but with some upgrades to the audience experience, including monitors that will be fixed to the walls so the community can see presentations clearly, along with acoustic upgrades so attendees and supervisors can hear whoever is delivering remarks, be it members of the public during hearings or outside agencies and department heads providing status reports and updates.
While no solid plans have been made, Dinwiddie leaders have said they are working to hold some form of an open house-style event that will also them to see the facility that is being touted as the “one-stop shop” for county government needs, a first for Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie’s health department, the board of supervisors boardroom, children’s services, a training room along with “building support and storage spaces” are located on the first floor, which is level with the Dinwiddie County Courthouse.
On the second floor, which would be level to Boydton Plank Road, 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.
These two levels are linked via a wide staircase that allows for easy access to both levels, along with elevators.
“When we look at the bigger picture here,” Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill said in an earlier interview, “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.”
The new county administration building is part of a $24 million project that is slowly approaching its final phases. In addition to the new Dinwiddie Government Center, as part of this multi-million project, the county was also able to build the new state-of-the-art Dinwiddie Public Safety Building, which is the new home of the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office and Dinwiddie Fire and EMS, along with dispatch and emergency management services.
Fire and EMS’ former home at the corner of Boydton Plank and Courthouse Roads was renovated as part of this project, transforming the building inside and out into the new information technology building, allowing that department to operate in the space where much of their data comes through. The IT department began operating out of that building in early October.
Following the move of county staff from the Pamplin Administration Building, work to renovate that facility will commence in order to transform the building into the new home of Dinwiddie County Public Schools, which will bring another opportunity for an agency, the school division, in this case, to bring all of their departments back under one roof for the first time in years.
“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 added, noting that the renovation of the Pamplin Administration Building for the school board should be completed by the early spring of 2019, which should be the same time period for the completion of the entire project.