A county building shuffle is under way, including a move toward expanded spaces for Information Technology and Sampson County Schools in the near future.
Earlier this month, the Sampson County Board of Commissioners approved a request by Sampson County Schools to utilize the entirety of Building A on the County Complex, as well as authorized the move of the Information Technology Department to a separate space vacated by the Board of Elections and Veterans Offices.
Dr. Ethan Lenker, superintendent for Sampson County Schools, said being able to use all of Building A would provide “much needed space.”
“With Head Start moved out, this office space would be extremely beneficial in conducting the business of Sampson County Schools,” Lenker stated. “The county government would, of course, still have first access to the main auditorium. The Board of Education would continue to use the space for meetings and on an as-needed basis. We will follow the current procedures for using the auditorium.”
He said the tentative plan would be to move technology and plant operations — the “auxiliary services” encompass plant operations, technology and child nutrition currently housed in independent offices at 2081 Indiantown Road — to the other side of the schools’ current building, which would allow the majority of the school operations to be housed under one roof.
That would, in turn, improve communication between school administration, the superintendent said.
“It would facilitate easier communication among the leadership of our school system,” Lenker stated. “Currently, the employees in these two offices make numerous trips daily back and forth to our main offices.”
Assistant county manager Susan Holder said there is still some leftover materials that need to be removed by the new Head Start grantee so the utilization of the entire building may not be imminent. Holder noted the solid partnership between county administration and the school system, notably in terms of the joint utilization of the auditorium, and said that would not change.
“It’s worked great for the Board of Education,” said Holder. “There’s no need in changing that.”
Use of the building by Sampson County Schools would bring with it renovations.
The school system would make structural revisions to several of the non-load bearing walls to make a more workable space that would fit the needs of the departments. Lenker reiterated that structural renovations to the small room off of the auditorium and the current lounge area are also being proposed.
“By tying these two rooms together,” he said, “it would enable us to create a more workable closed session room off of the auditorium that would benefit the Sampson County Commissioners as well as the Sampson County Board of Education.”
A similar building utilization request was made by the county’s Information Technology Department, subsequently approved by the Board of Commissioners.
“In an effort to enhance the county’s computer infrastructure system, the Sampson County Information Technology Department is requesting to utilize the space vacated by the Board of Elections and Veterans Office for a new data center, office space and training center,” said Information technology director Chris Rayner. “The space was previously scheduled to be used for a collaborative data center between Sampson County government, Sampson County Schools and Clinton City Schools.”
That space was vacated by the Board of Elections and Veterans offices at the end of 2011 as they began the year moving into Building D, the site of the former Employment Security building, on the other side of the County Complex campus. That move was made to provide more space, privacy and parking for veterans, voters and others.
Rayner said he is looking for offices that can similarly allow IT personnel with more space for new equipment and large upcoming projects with several other county departments.
“The use of this building will optimize space, allowing the county IT Department to install new equipment from upcoming projects within the Tax Department, Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Social Services,” said Rayner. “The current space is inadequate to handle proposed new equipment for any new projects.”
In addition to installing equipment for significant projects, the IT Department will utilize other rooms in the building for general office space, county training room and conference room.
“That will be a very gradual process,” said Holder of the move. “They will start doing that next week. One of the biggest benefits (of moving into the new space) is the training for employees.”
Rayner said the benefits are multi-fold.
The current space at the offices on Southeast Boulevard, which the IT Department shares with the Sampson County Public Works Department, is simply not large enough to accommodate a growing need for such a technology hub. Freeing up the space at the Southeast Boulevard offices would also serve to give Public Works more space, Rayner noted.
“By vacating the space currently shared with Public Works,” he said, “an IT Department move will help Public Works revamp its operation work flow and capitalize from the vacated office space in the current location at Southeast Boulevard.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.