Apparently the county's government is growing right along with its neighborhoods, schools and population. After 12 years at its Harrison Street location in Leesburg, the government is accepting Request for Partnership Proposals from area developers. The county is also seeking proposals for the development of an integrated technology and life-sciences campus. The proposal deadline for both projects is Feb. 21.
"We've had a lot of good response," Tina Borger, the county's procurement manager, said. "We didn't want to turn away competition on either project."
The county is looking at long-term solutions for its space problems, Kirby Bowers, the county's administrator, said, while still meeting the government's current needs.
"The board really asked us to look at a 20-year-plus solution," Bowers said.
The new 500,000-square-foot center will include two different buildings, ideally one for the government and another for the county's community services organziations. In addition, the county would like enough space to allow for a 300,000-square-foot expansion on site.
"The intent for this request is to move most of the people from this building to centralize the administration offices," Borger said. "We are just beginning the space planning for the departments."
AS THE COUNTY receives proposals, they will be studied by several different departments, including the finance department, the office of capital construction, planning, zoning and transportation.
"We are taking a large-team approach to this project," Borger said. "I believe that both projects will have some competition."
The government should move to its new facility by 2013, leaving one year for the county to go through the application process and finalize its partnership and five years for design and construction.
"In part it will depend on how many proposals we get," Borger said.
BOWERS AND BORGER said the county has completely outgrown the various buildings it owns and is now back to renting space to meet the needs of its departments, spending millions of dollars each year in rental costs and seeing its offices spread out around Leesburg.
"There are many departments that are feeling the pinch and have for quite some time," Bowers said. "You only need to walk up to the board offices or my office and see that we are short on space."
The judicial complex also needs more space, Bowers said, and not only for the Circuit and General District courts.
"There are many agencies that support the judicial operation," he said. "All those agencies are growing and need space."
While the county does plan to vacate its current space, Borger said she does not see the government giving up the building entirely.
While there are no definite plans for the space, Bowers said internal talk in office indicates that the building might be a good spot for the judicial expansion, especially for the support organizations.
"All of this is part of the process," Bowers said. "There are more questions than answers right now. But the process is designed to clear up some of those questions."