Montgomery County Government Center's future enters discussion | Govt and Politics | roanoke.com – Roanoke Times

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Plans have been discussed for the possible renovation of the Montgomery County Government Center at 755 Roanoke St. in Christiansburg.
CHRISTIANSBURG — Montgomery County Supervisor Mary Biggs recalls the early 2000s when the government administration moved to a former manufacturing facility on Roanoke Street.
The county’s population hovered around 85,000 and her colleagues’ new home had been renovated with the hope of remaining sufficient for the next 25 years or so, Biggs said.
Exactly two decades later the county’s population is about 100,000. The 2020 census says it falls just a few hundred people below that number, while estimates released by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Center just before the start of the pandemic put the locality’s population just over that mark.
Biggs, who has been on the board for 24 years, said the continuing growth of the county — one of Western Virginia’s fastest-growing municipalities and the New River Valley’s economic hub — will inevitably lead to an increased need for county services, much of which are centralized at the building on Roanoke Street.
And a growth in county services due to the locality’s continuing population increase could necessitate some reconfiguring of the County Government Center, Biggs said.
“We’re going to have to look at it,” she said.
A potential renovation of the government center was one of many topics the board of supervisors discussed in a work session some weeks ago.
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sherri Blevins said some of the potential needs that could be addressed by at least some improvements are already evident.
Blevins said the county has continually looked at improving security. Also, she said the increased prevalence of early voting could lead to additional needs in the registrar area and she recalled the recent use of the government center for balloting.
“I don’t see early voting going away anytime soon. People take good advantage of that, and we want to make it accessible,” Blevins said.
Other county officials, however, stressed that no wheels are in motion and that the recent discussion over the government center was just a preliminary conversation.
Details such as a potential timeline, budgets and plans are nonexistent at this time, said county spokeswoman Jennifer Harris.
Regardless of what may happen in the future, this year is still a milestone for the building as 2022 marks its 20th anniversary of serving as the home of county government.
Before 2002, the county’s administrative offices — with the exception of a few departments that operated in other facilities — and the board of supervisors were based in the old courthouse.
Prior to 1998, supervisors convened in a small conference room on the third floor of the old courthouse. Then from 1998 to 2002, their meetings occurred in the third floor courtroom of the building.
The government center building at 755 Roanoke St. in Christiansburg dates back to 1936. It was originally home to the Blue Ridge Manufacturing Company and then housed the Imperial Reading Corporation.
A 2017 announcement noted that the building was at the time home to more than 200 county employees.
The announcement also covered the county’s practice of renovating and repurposing vacant buildings, which was described as a way for the locality to be both fiscally responsible and environmentally conscious.
“In turn, this effort helps preserve some of the county’s history,” the 2017 statement reads, adding later that the decision to renovate the existing structure resulted in approximately $5 million savings for the county.
Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.
Yann Ranaivo covers local government and politics in the New River Valley, including Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Radford and Montgomery County.
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Plans have been discussed for the possible renovation of the Montgomery County Government Center at 755 Roanoke St. in Christiansburg.
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