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Lee County cuts ribbon on new social services building

WALTER LITTRELL • Mar 8, 2007 at 4:51 AM

JONESVILLE - In a short ceremony hosted by Mark Carter, chairman of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, Lee County officials were joined Wednesday afternoon by officials from the Virginia Department of Social Services to cut the ribbon on a brand-new building to house the Lee County Department of Social Services.

"This is an exciting day for us to present this new building," said Carter. "It will provide the Department of Social Services a new working environment that all of Lee County can be proud of."

In addition to all the county's supervisors and a host of county officials including Lee County DSS Director Jerry Spence, the ceremony was attended by Danny Brown, the chairman of the Virginia Department of Social Services, and Tony Fritts, the regional director from Abingdon. Others present included project engineer Bobby Lane and representatives from the construction company, Quesenberry's Inc.

"The county is to be commended for such a beautiful building. This is certainly something to be extremely proud of," said Brown.

Spence thanked supervisors for allowing his department to be a part of the planning process and for letting them offer input on how it should be designed.

"This is a building to be proud of, and my employees are anxious to move in," he said.

County Administrator Dane Poe thanked supervisors for being cooperative and willing to go beyond what began as plans for a new building to house county administrative offices.

"This is a different project altogether," he said.

Poe said initially the county considered a new building to house county offices, but as planning progressed, it was suggested to move social services to the new building and renovate their current space to house the sheriff's department and 911 offices.

"I hope this is the beginning of more improvements we need to make in modernizing the county," he said.

The nearly 14,000-square-foot building houses 57 offices, a small conference room, and a secure reception area. Total cost of the building was approximately $1.58 million. It was funded through a bond issue obtained by the Lee County Industrial Development Authority through the Virginia Association of Counties/Virginia Municipal League bond pool, said Poe. The loan will be paid off in 30 years. The IDA will retain ownership, although the county makes the loan payments. Once the loan is paid, ownership will be transferred to the county.

DSS will begin moving into the new offices on Friday .

and expects to open to the public on Tuesday. The department will schedule an open house once the move is completed.

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