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New county admin building opens

County government workers moved into the new administration building Monday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
County government workers moved into the new administration building Monday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The new Kitsap County Administration Building opened for business on Monday, offering county employees and visitors a clean, well-lit and organized place for conducting government business.

“The new space is better for our constituents,” said Don Burger, an assistant to County Treasurer Barbara Stephenson. “It will be easier to find the various agencies and make it easier for us to work together as a group. It is a better environment for both the employees and the public.”

“I’m delighted to have my entire staff in one place,” said Auditor Karen Flynn, who brought together employees from three locations. “There is a lot of light, and a positive working space. It makes our operations much more efficient.” 

Added Elections Supervisor Dolores Gilmore, “We’ll save a lot of time not having to run back and forth between the Givens Center and the main office.”

There is an automated kiosk inside the main entrance (from Division Street) along with an easily accessible information desk.

Still, the layout is deceptively simple: The main floor contains the auditor to the north and commissioners’ chambers and treasurer to the south.

The top floor houses the commissioners’ and administrative offices. And the ground floor holds the Assessor’s Office and the Department of Community Development (DCD).

A second entrance to the east opens up parking on Dwight Street, allowing visitors more parking options in proximity to the new building.

In addition to the newly accessible street parking, 34 new spaces were created around the building. Commissioners and other officials have been assigned spaces in an underground parking facility.

The 70,000 square-foot, $25 million dollar building broke ground in spring 2004 and was expected to take about 18 months. Several delays — including leaks in the heating system — caused regular postponements of the move-in date.

All three county commissioners are attending disaster preparedness training in Maryland this week and will not return to the office until June 26.

At that point, the commissioners will have their first meeting in their new 150-seat chamber (more than three times the capacity of the one it replaced).

While the new building has no meal service, the coffee stand from the old building will move across the street in the near future.

With the opening of the new building, the county will turn to the upgrade of its remaining space. Initially, the current administration building was to become a law and justice center, with the courts and prosecutor moving into the space vacated by agencies moving into the new building.

However, the Public Works Building requires weatherization, necessitating the temporary relocation of 101 employees, so the Personnel and Public Works departments will be redistributed to the space now occupied by DCD, the Givens Center and other ancillary buildings.

Transfer of the District Court into the space now occupied by the auditor will proceed as planned, but the expansion of the prosecutor’s and Superior Court offices will need to wait until the public works building is fixed in 2007.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony which will include public tours of the new building is planned for Aug. 1.

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