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Editorial: Lost in space

The first step toward making West End Plaza a county government center has been completed. Last week Rowan County held a grand opening for the new Veterans Service and Board of Elections offices. The important county offices sorely needed elbow room for workers and privacy for clients.

The county bought the former Salisbury Mall in 2013 for $3.4 million. This recent phase of construction was budgeted at $1.79 million, most of it — $1.32 million — for roof repairs.

Even with these two spaces finished, the county has more than 300,000 square feet to fill. (Tenants fill some of that.)

What’s next? The health department and Social Services are prime candidates for relocation, since they have outgrown their relatively new space on East Innes Street. The mall area once occupied by JCPenney has been used for big events; there’s also talk about the need for conference space.

The challenge is to move forward without creating more empty, hard-to-sell space. The county and the school system have plenty of that.

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