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On the move!

WINTON – A project that took well over one year to complete has ended.

This week, the Hertford County Department of Social Services will officially take over the entire county office building #1 in Winton (across from the old courthouse). This project will bring all of the county’s DSS staff under one roof, meaning the office in Ahoskie has closed.

Prior to the June 2015 opening of the county’s new courthouse and administrative office complex on the outskirts of Winton, DSS shared space in building #1 with local government officials.

A plan was developed in late 2015 to fully renovate office building #1 and allow DSS to use that entire space. The Hertford County Board of Commissioners eventually approved a $2.995 million capital improvement plan to perform that work.

At their meeting here on Monday, the Commissioners learned that the project was basically complete, other than a few cosmetic items remaining.

“Our final inspection was held on Wednesday of last week and substantial completion was obtained at that time,” Hertford County Manager Loria Williams told the board members. “We have a certificate of occupancy.”

Williams further updated the board by telling them that the building was already being used by DSS staff.

“They were not necessarily in their permanent office while the construction was ongoing, but they started to move to their appropriate locations on Thursday and Friday of last week,” Williams said.

She said a moving company was under contract to move the file cabinets and other equipment from the Ahoskie DSS office to the renovated space in Winton. That move was scheduled to take place on Tuesday of this week.

“We still have some IT work left, moving internet systems and copy machines,” Williams said.

She also reminded the board that the project was approximately 45 days behind schedule according to the contract with the general contractor. Despite that, the project was still at the projected $2.995 million budget.

“You can decide by our next meeting if you want to move forward in applying liquidated damages against the contractor (due to the delay in completing the project),” Williams remarked.

Also on Monday, the Board closed out the project’s financing. Some of the allocated funds were moved to various line items within the capital project ordinance: $27,635 to Engineering/Planning; $39,436 for Furnishing/Equipment; and $141,168 in construction costs.

“Even with the reallocation of these funds, this still leaves approximately $10,000 to $15,000 in the (project’s) contingency fund,” said Hertford County Finance Director Sandy Pittman. “Everything else has been accounted for.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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