By Aila Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org
Botetourt County announced last Tuesday during the Board of Supervisors meeting that some of its offices will be moving out of Fincastle and will be relocated to the Greenfield Education and Training Center.
The move, which will happen as early as May, will affect roughly 50 employees, with 180 remaining in Fincastle. The county treasurer, commissioner of the revenue, county administration, community development, and other administrative offices are included in the move.
The Clerk of Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Courts, Sheriff’s Office, Voter Registration, and Fire-Emergency Medical Services will all remain in Fincastle.
“This plan provides a great solution for the county’s office space needs at much less cost than other options,” Billy Martin, chairman of the Board of Supervisors and Blue Ridge District supervisor, said in the press release. “It also provides better access for our citizens and will allow various offices of the county and our employees to work better together resulting in improved services for the public.”
The potential benefits of the move of the move to Greenfield for county residents include easier parking and better handicapped accessibility.
Gary Larrowe, county administrator, noted that the move will allow for better coordination between the county’s staff, which are currently dispersed between 15 office buildings in Fincastle.
According to a press release issued by the county, the 40,000-square-foot facility, which is owned by the Botetourt County Economic Development Authority, was originally designed to be used as a regional higher education and workforce training center that was managed by Virginia Western Community College. Now, the college has largely vacated the center, except for workforce training program usage. At the time it was built, a 20-year lease was established with the Virginia Community College System. The lease will end in May of 2020.
A new lease for Virginia Western Community College will be negotiated after the expiration of the current one. The new lease is said to allow the college to continue to utilize part of the facility for regional workplace training programs.
“Virginia Western Community College remains an important partner in this decision. This solution preserves the space the college needs for its programs while maximizing an investment that has benefited the state, the county, and the region for the past 20 years,” Larrowe added.
According to a 2018 professional engineering assessment, the Courthouse has “reached the end of its useful life”— a sentiment that members of the Board of Supervisors echoed during the meeting last Tuesday. The current Courthouse was built following a 1970 fire that destroyed the original one which was built in 1848 based on a design by Thomas Jefferson. The list of problems associated with the Courthouse include limited handicapped accessibility, inadequate security features, water leaks, and the inability of mechanical systems to properly condition air and control humidity.
“Facility concerns create the urgency to relocate some county offices,” said Dr. Richard Bailey, Fincastle District supervisor. “This is an opportunity to renew our work spaces, consolidate county offices, and improve public access while minimizing cost. Fincastle will continue to be the county seat with the majority of employees remaining there in the future.”
It was noted in the press release that the county considered numerous options to remedy its need for alternative office space, including the construction, leasing and purchasing of Fincastle-based office space.
The move, as noted in the press release, will also allow the court system the extra space required for needed renovations, and potential expansions.