By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: December 28, 2018 | 2:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – “Today is a historic day for Dinwiddie County,” Betty Bowen, director of the county’s historical society said to supervisors at their meeting last week, as she too understood the subtle, but an important milestone that was occurring at last week’s business meeting: the final regular meeting of the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors inside the Pamplin Administration Building boardroom, its home since 1975.
It was business as usual during last week’s board meeting, with reports, resolutions, and comments from county leaders, but there was an energy among supervisors as they all reflected on the fact that, come next month, the county will be operating out of the Dinwiddie County Government Center, the two-story, state-of-the-art facility across the parking lot from the Pamplin building.
Over the course of the last several weeks, efforts have already begun to move old records, closed files, and other non-essential materials into the new building, while ensuring county departments can be fully functional inside the Pamplin building. The move is expected to be completed by the start of the year.
As part of the move, Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill told supervisors and residents in attendance for last week’s meeting that much of the move will occur between December 26 through 28 and during that time, staff will work to operate out of both building with signage being posted to give people directions on where they need to go for county services.
When the new building opens for regular business on January 2, another milestone will be attained – the first time in county history that the county’s operations will all be centralized in one location, on one campus.
The Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors stands for one last time inside the Pamplin Administration Building following their December meeting. Next week, they will hold their first meeting inside the Dinwiddie County Government Center. (Michael Campbell)
The 54,000 square foot facility will become a one-stop shop for Dinwiddie County residents needing services from their locality. The first floor, which is easily accessible from either Boydton Plank Road-facing side or the courthouse facing side of the building, will serve as the new home for the Dinwiddie County Department of Social Services, health department, and department of children’s services.
On the second floor, departments like county administration, human resources, the county attorney, economic development, planning and zoning, the commissioner of revenue, and treasurer’s office will all find their new homes within the building that has features modern stylings while maintaining traditional architectural values for government buildings, such as the use of wood grain for many of the facility’s accent pieces.
Also on the first floor, of importance to supervisors, is the new boardroom for the county’s governing body. The new meeting space, which has the same seating capacity as their old room, features new amenities, such as large viewing monitors for the public to be able to see presentations clearly, along with outside access, meaning, during a meeting, the rest of the building can be locked off to the public after hours, allowing for access to the meeting through its own set of doors in the boardroom. Supervisors will also have a space in the back to have their closed session meetings.
During last week’s meeting, many county leaders reflected on the history of the Pamplin building and the impact this new facility will have on Dinwiddie going forward.
“[The Pamplin building] was put here in 1975,” County Administrator Massengill said during his remarks last week. “You think about how many board meetings where held here, all of the minutes that were created, and all of the tough decisions and public involvement that occurred here.”
He continued, “It’s bittersweet, but the county has grown and we hope that the community, once we get into the new space, can see the new building and come to appreciate it.”
“It is never a good time to build a new building but, we hope we built this building in a way that allows us to be good stewards of the people’s money,” Massengill said.
Dr. Mark Moore, who will serve as chairman of the board until their organizational meeting on January 2 where the role will cycle to Supervisor William Chavis, called the new building and the revamped complex as a whole “transformational” as, over by the middle part of 2019, renovations of the Pamplin building will be complete, giving the school division their very own building, allowing them to also bring back departments that had become scattered beyond the central office due to a lack of space, such as the school nutrition department.
The public will able to attend meetings of the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors inside their new building starting January 2. The new boardroom features amenities such as screens for the public to see presentations and plenty of seating. The room also has direct access to the parking lot. (Michael Campbell)
“We are progressing the county in a very positive way and it is just the fruition of a vision to try to bring all of our employees into the Village of Dinwiddie,” he said. “This is going to be a great opening and a great start of 2019.”
Echoing those sentiments was fellow supervisor Harrison Moody, who has served on the board the longest at 31 years and had his fair share of meetings inside the Pamplin building, admitted it will be a change not meeting inside a boardroom the county has called home since 1975, but its a change that is marked with promise and opportunity for further growth.
“It is going to new and different,” he said. “I think they have done a good job of serving here, but as we transition to the new building, I just a future of growth for the county and the building with its size will allow for that growth.”
Moody spoke to the space inside the building where offices were designed for future growth and meeting spaces were developed for community use and the prospects the future could hold for how those spaces could be used.
“When I have served on the National Association of Counties board, there are so many different things we can serve people within these spaces,” he said. “Some of those offices could be used for veterans, perhaps someone who would like to come in and volunteer for the veterans. Also, our resource council in the county will hopefully be something that can really help people as well. This building is going to be a great asset for the county.”
Standing outside the Pamplin building boardroom after exiting their final meeting, Supervisor Moody also reflected on his fondest memory of serving as a supervisor during his 31-year tenure and his time in that room.
“The first year I got on the board, I was the youngest member of the board at the time,” he shared. “The elder members of the board weren’t really in tune with recreational needs of the county. The county had its own recreation and a lot of the associations had it, but we didn’t have a county department for recreation so, that first year, it was probably a split vote but we decided to have a recreation department.”
Moody continued, “Also my first year, we did away with the farm equipment machinery tax because we thought that was an added burden to our farmers. They have no control over the income that they get some years; some years are good, some are bad.”
While county officials will begin operating out of the building on January 2, Massengill did say they are re-evaluating the date for the planned open house for the building, currently scheduled for January 11.
Due to recent winter weather, Massengill said some things are slightly behind schedule and, to put the building’s best foot forward, the county has rescheduled their their grand opening event to Thursday,
On January 2, supervisors will meet inside the boardroom to hold their annual organizational meeting, where the board will select its new chairman, vice-chair, and handle procedural matters for the coming year. That meeting will take place at 7 p.m.