County administration building dedication

County AdministrationThe St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners invites the public to the Dedication and Grand Opening of the new St. Johns County Administration Building on Tuesday, October 28th according to an announcement received by Historic City News on yesterday.

The festivities begin at 9:00 am with a Ribbon Cutting in front of the building, followed by a reception in the Rotunda and public tours of the building. At 10:00 am the regular County Commission meeting will begin with a special Dedication Ceremony.

The new Administration Building has been planned since July 2005, when the Board gave permission to the Clerk of the Court to expand into the old administration building. County officials then performed a space-use programming study to assess the functions and needs of each position assigned to work in the new building, and it was designed to enhance efficiency and public access to government. Construction began in the summer of 2007, and officials anticipate the building to service St. Johns County for the next 75 years.

The building includes approximately 100,000 square feet of usable space, anchored by a new 320-seat auditorium. A lower level parking garage provides secure storage for vehicles and valuable equipment (such as survey tools) while elevating the first floor to 22 feet, high enough to survive a Category 3 storm surge. Several conference rooms were also included in the design for both County and public use. The departments housed in the new Administration Building include Minutes and Records, Real Estate, Survey, Geographic Information Systems, County Administration, Management and Budget, Personnel Services, Risk Management, Building Operations, Government Television, Board of County Commissioners and the County Attorney.

County Administrator Michael Wanchick acknowledges the building is opening in difficult economic times, but is very pleased with the new building. “This building will facilitate greater public access to St. Johns County government and will help to serve the community with increased efficiency and convenience,” he said. “The building has been carefully planned and designed for several years, and I want to acknowledge the foresight of previous Boards and Administrators for their contributions towards such a well-designed community facility.”

The Administration Building was designed by PQH Architects and built by Elkins Constructors, Inc. Although the new building is the largest facility ever built by St. Johns County, it is the least expensive per square foot of the County’s recently constructed buildings. The $16.5 million total project cost – which includes the purchase of the 30-acre property with room for 3-4 additional future buildings – is below what design engineers projected and includes computer equipment for the building’s central network and equipment for the County’s Government Television production facility.

The cost of the actual construction was an impressive $126 per square foot, due in large part to the building’s efficient design. Despite an impressive façade, the building is a simple design of three adjacent boxes connected by an entranceway and rotunda. Tilt-up panel construction was used, which is inexpensive, provides durability over time and decreases construction time.

The Administration Building is located at 500 San Sebastian View on the southwest corner of the main County complex.

For more information about the Dedication, contact Public Affairs Specialist Karen Pan at (904) 209-0549.

Photo credit: Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire