• 72°

With DSS move planned, sheriff’s office could leave justice center

With the Rowan County Board of Commissioners planning to fill portions of the former Salisbury Mall with the Department of Social Services and Health Department, the Sheriff’s Office is one potential department to fill the vacated space on East Innes.
For months, county government has considered moving DSS and the Health Department, located on East Innes Street, to the mall. Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Sides, who is also the DSS board chairman, on Tuesday briefly mentioned the possibility of moving the Sheriff’s Office to the East Innes facility, especially because it would vacate space in the Rowan County Justice Center and still remain relatively close to downtown.
“In a quick fix, we could resolve some very critical space needs for the court system without having to build,” Sides said. “There are critical needs downtown that we cannot meet with new buildings. It’s just not feasible to build downtown and have to build a parking deck along with that building when we could just move the sheriff’s department.”
He added that the Sheriff’s Office move has been considered before and the Rowan County Jail would remain in its current facility. If approved, it would be the second facility change for the Sheriff’s Office. The commissioners already approved using the Maintenance Department’s facility on Airport Road for Sheriff’s Office storage.
The Sheriff’s Office move was raised during a Tuesday DSS board meeting, when the board was discussing a space needs study.
DSS Director Donna Fayko said the department’s leadership team would meet Wednesday and complete a space needs questionnaire — though it’s certain that DSS is running out of space.
“We’ve particularly pointed out that we’ve outgrown the space and cubicle space for staff we’re hiring,” Fayko said. “We’ve actually converted one of our file rooms. We’ve also outgrown our parking lot and have no parking for our customers and sometimes our staff.”
Repeatedly, Sides and DSS board member Arnold Chamberlain said commissioners failed when first planning the current DSS and Health Department buildings.
Sides said the total number of clients for DSS in 2006 ranged from 16,000 to 17,000 per year. Presently, he said client numbers are 26,000 per year for food stamps and 28,000 per year for Medicaid.
Chamberlain, a previous county commissioner, said he was initially proud of the planning that went into the DSS building after it was finished.
“I would have never seen this coming, not this quickly,” Chamberlain said, talking directly to Sides. “I would’ve looked at this parking lot and said there’s no way we’re going to fill up the parking lot out there. Wherever it goes Jim, the board of commissioners is going to have a decision to make and it’s going to cost a lot of money.”
Sides and Fayko both said the 2008 economic recession was a primary reason for the increase.
Even if numbers return to pre-recession levels, Sides said the space at the mall, now called West End Plaza, wouldn’t be wasted. DSS currently occupies a space that’s 40,000 square feet. The space that Sides proposed moving DSS into is 80,000 square feet. Much of the space could be used for hundreds of boxes of records, which are currently stored in the county’s maintenance facility on Airport Road.
Sides said the company conducting the feasibility study — Adwardchitects — is finished or nearly finished talking to each county department. Afterward, he said the company would analyze data and commissioners would likely develop a capital improvement plan based on data.
Sides said though moving DSS to the mall and replacing it with the Sheriff’s Office would be a good idea, the space needs study should be completed before any final decisions are made.
He estimated that the study would be complete after the new crop of commissioners take their positions.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

Comments

Comments closed.

Elections

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

Crime

Salisbury woman arrested in Myrtle Beach for abducting child

Health

County updates health director job description, will advertise for position

High School

High school tennis: East beats Carson, still hopes to share NPC title

Elections

Board of Elections to purchase upgraded voting equipment using federal grant

Kannapolis

Kyle Seager drives in winning run in first game as Mariners split doubleheader with Orioles

Local

City exhausts this year’s funds for Innes Street Improvements, Municipal Services District grant programs

Landis

Landis adopts amendments to Zoning Ordinance related to signs, Planning Board terms

Nation/World

Cop, police chief resign 2 days after Black motorist’s death

Nation/World

Expert says cop was justified in pinning down George Floyd

Crime

Blotter: April 13

Coronavirus

County switches vaccines for Livingstone clinic after federal, state guidance

Coronavirus

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

Education

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale