In a matter of weeks Augusta Utilities and Augusta Engineering plan to relocate the bulk of administrative and customer service functions – including bill payment – to a renovated building at 452 Walker St. downtown.
The columned mansion, built in 1911 but renovated in 1978 as telephone company offices, is the subject of an ongoing $3.4 million renovation the Augusta Commission approved last year.
Renovations are nearing completion and about 150 Utilities and Engineering employees will move to their new offices in early August, Utilities Assistant Director Marie Corbin said during a Monday tour.
The facility will receive utility customers through the Walker Street front entrance, while Engineering visitors will be referred to the building entrance facing Watkins Street, Corbin said.
The three-acre site also will house Augusta’s first drive-through utility bill payment window as well as a self-service payment kiosk, Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier said. The facility also will be the new home of Augusta’s stormwater utility fee program.
City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said after being hired in 2014 she was aghast at some of the working conditions of city departments, including several that have occupied leased space for years, and expects the new building to have an impact on morale. The city got a good deal on the building, which has adequate parking, Jackson said.
The city paid almost $2 million for the 38,000-square-foot building and will spend another $805,000 for furnishings.
Utilities is moving administrative offices from a rented building on Bay Street and customer service functions from the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp. building on Laney-Walker Boulevard. Engineering currently occupies aging city-owned offices in the 400 block of Greene Street.
The Laney-Walker office will close Aug. 11 with bill payment set to start at the new building Aug. 14, Wiedmeier said.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.