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New Virginia Government Services Center Opens for Public

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 11, 2019 06:22 PM

The new St. Louis County Government Services Center in Virginia is at its final phase of construction. It opened partially to the public on Monday.

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The partial open was for those seeking services from the Public Health and Human Services department. The center will have all its other services in the center by the end of the week. Those include the assessor's office, auditor's office, environmental services, extension, planning, recorder, human resources, mine inspector, and veterans services.

Employees are in the process of transitioning to the new building from the Northland Office Building. The project took over a year to complete and will be a lot more efficient for everyone.

“From the folks that have come in, they’ve been very pleased with what they’re seeing. I think it’ll be a lot more user friendly,” said Paula Stocke, the division director of Family and Children Services for the northern part of St. Louis County.

“It’s a 75 year building design. It’s low maintenance and the materials are durable,” said Tony Mancuso, the director of marketing for St. Louis County.

The $19 million project is finally wrapping up after breaking ground in May 2018. Staff said they are excited and getting adjusted to their new work space and community members are familiarizing themselves with the new building.

“It’s open and has good technology and conference room space,” said Stocke. "180 employees are on the floor so it’s more functional and we will be able to collaborate a lot better.”

The new government services building offers more space at 63,000 square feet. The new goal with the building was to offer more security and efficiency for both staff and community members.

“It’s easy, once you come in you can’t get lost. The entrances for different services are well marked.

“In the past folks would have to go one floor to the next. They can go to one place and workers will get to them,” said Stocke.

More organization was the goal of the new building to better serve the diverse population the center gets. Stocke said the Public Health and Human Services department gets about 6800 people a month.

Another goal was to make it a zero net energy building. It's the largest solar panel installation on an office building in the state.

“It has 330,000 watts and they’re locally manufactured in Mountain Iron,” said Mancuso.

It also has a super insulated building envelope and shell, triple pane windows, a ground source heat pump geothermal underneath the building, a variable refrigerant flow system, and solarwall.

"We wanted to stabilize our energy consumption for decades to come," said Mancuso.

Architects made sure to incorporate the Iron Range culture to the new building by including locally sourced materials and art work that showcases the wildlife and natural resources of the range.

“We have polished taconite counter tops and taconite rock on the outside and inside as well as locally sourced black ash in the wood elements,” said Mancuso.

In about two weeks the Northland Office Building will go through demolition to get the parking lot started for the new building.

Visitors are encouraged to access the building from the entrance on 3rd street.

An official ribbon cutting of the center is set for late December.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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