The County is currently overseeing a space relocation and improvement program throughout several of our buildings in order to improve functionality and service to the public. There have been a number of events that have set the stage for these improvements over the past few years and plans are now underway to relocate County Departments into these buildings.
The County recently acquired the Tulare/Akers Professional Center, also known as the “CIGNA Building,” located on the northwest corner of Akers St. and Tulare Ave. in Visalia. We negotiated a very competitive price for the building, with the final price being $84 per square foot – much lower than what it would cost to build a building like this.
It is one of the most attractive office buildings in Visalia, and comes with several tenants that will bring a steady flow of revenues.
Not only was this purchase an economic benefit for the County, but this building will also be a great addition to the County’s inventory, allowing for a variety of different uses in the future to serve our needs.
Several County Departments have had a need for new office space, and this building will help to meet that. The Board recognized this need and authorized the relocation of the Fire Department and Tulare County Sheriff’s Office from their current locations to the new building.
These relocations will consolidate public safety functions into one location and provide improved facilities for both departments.
We are also in the process of relocating the Human Resources & Development (HR&D) Department into one of the buildings vacated by the Tulare County Office of Education earlier this year. This new prominent location will place Tulare County HR&D in a prime location of visibility.
Once HR&D has been relocated, we are able to consolidate County Counsel under one roof. The final planned relocation will be consolidating the County’s IT department into a building also vacated by the Office of Education. We will continue looking at remaining space needs in the Courthouse and Government Plaza going forward.
Once all moves are completed, we will see substantial savings in the County’s General Fund of approximately $200,000; which creates fiscal flexibility for future services. In addition to the financial gains, there will also be improved functionality for the departments and services provided to the public.
This is an opportunity to provide enhanced work spaces and a better work environment for County employees within these departments, and ultimately these moves will provide us with opportunities for higher levels of service to the residents of Tulare County.
The project team is currently utilizing a committee-model to oversee and manage this relocation work. With the contribution of several staff and department representatives, we will make sure that the project is completed timely and within budget, while striving to meet the needs of the effected departments.
As work continues, we are hoping to finalize this planning phase and bring the initial construction plans forward for Board approval in September.