City Might Grow ‘Up’
Proposal Would Ease Government Crowding With A Second Floor
Posted: December 12, 2012
HARRISONBURG — An architect presented plans Tuesday night to build a second level to the Community Development Building to ease a lack of office space within city government.
In July, the city contracted with John Sease, owner of Sease & Associates in Harrisonburg, to study space and efficiency of the City Municipal Building at 345 S. Main St. and community development offices next door. The study cost $29,000.
Sease reported his findings Tuesday night to City Council. The panel’s chambers are housed in the Community Development Building, which was a commercial strip center until government offices moved there in the 1990s.
The Municipal Building, which is about 28,000 square feet, is “deficient” by more than 7,000 square feet for what city departments need, Sease said.
The best solution to address the issue is adding a level to the Community Development Building, he said.
“We’re really not having to buy any more land,” Sease said. “We’re using what we’ve got, and that’s a good thing.”
Cost figures were not presented Tuesday. Harrisonburg City Schools moved earlier this year from an outdated, cramped administrative office next to the Municipal Building to the 27,000-square-foot One Court Square.
The renovation of the new complex cost $2 million.
The Municipal Building is a former elementary school. City Manager Kurt Hodgen says it’s not energy-efficient and offers no additional space to move personnel around.
One of the more troubling aspects is that the information technology department is in the basement, which sometimes floods, he said.
In Sease’s proposal, the IT department would move to the second floor of the revamped building, along with the city manager’s office, training rooms, a lounge and more.
The first floor would house the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue, Registrar’s Office, Treasurer’s Office and others.
The treasurer would be at the north side of the Community Development Building, with two drive-through lanes to serve the public.
The Municipal Building would be left vacant until other uses are found.
“We ask a lot of our employees,” Councilman Charles Chenault said. “I think they deserve, and even more importantly, need better quarters to work in, and I think something along this line fits the bill.”
Council members plan to discuss the proposal in January.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org