County will begin moving into DHS Millard facility in mid-February

Published 4:19 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012

County officials said that county personnel will begin moving into the new 17,000-square-foot Department of Human Services building in mid-February.

At the end of December, supervisors accepted the building as “substantially complete,” said County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin, Jr.

That offered the county a way of beginning the process of moving in, although the facility is not completely finished.

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The building was supposed to have been finished and turned over to the county last May by Casablanca Construction Co. of Hattiesburg.

The building was scheduled to have been completed in May, but the contractor still has a few “minor things” to complete before the structure is completely finished, Lumpkin said.

Casablanca won the $2.7 million contract to construct the facility.

Lumpkin said that after the county occupies the structure, there will be, in force, a one-year warranty on the building.

He said that furniture is in the process of being shipped in and computer lines are being run to the building.

The new building will feature administrative office space and a large courtroom for the Justice Court system. Currently, Justice Court administrative offices are housed in trailers at Millard next to the county jail and the court system’s courtroom facility is in the county prison building.

In addition to the Justice Court offices and courtroom facilities, there will be office space for the Veterans Affairs officers in the new building.

The Millard DHS offices will house most of the county’s welfare services, but a small contingent of workers will remain in the county welfare service offices on U.S. Highway 11 North in Poplarville.

Pearl River County received $5 million from FEMA through MEMA after Katrina and spent approximately $2.5 million on  constructing the county office complex known as Chimney Square at the corner of Kilpatrick Street and Goodyear Boulevard in Picayune. That facility was finished and occupied last year.

The other $2.5 million went toward construction of the Millard-based DHS building.

Also, some federal Community Development Block Grant funds were added to the FEMA money to help cover construction.

Although the DHS Millard facility is not completely finished, the county decided it had waited long enough, declared the facility “substantially complete,” and told DHS, Justice Court and Veterans Affairs office heads to prepare to move into the new building in mid-February, said Lumpkin.