For release: IMMEDIATELY
Release Date: 10/22/2012
PUBLIC WORKS AND PLANNING CENTER ''ONE STOP SHOP'' OFFICIALLY OPENING FOR BUSINESS
Consolidation of Planning Commission, DPW Divisions, and Business Services in One Locale Will Create “One Stop Shop” for Citizens and Businesses Seeking Assistance
A ribbon cutting ceremony and walking tour are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. to officially open the new Public Works and Planning Center, located at 1100 Laurel Street. More than 150 City-Parish employees of various Department of Public Works divisions and the City-Parish Planning Commission will be located in the newly-renovated facility, the former site of the Baton Rouge Junior High School.
The former Baton Rouge Junior High School building was constructed in the early 1920s and opened to students in 1923. At some point in presumably the 1960s, the City of Baton Rouge assumed control of the facility and renovated it for use as a temporary courthouse. Over the years, elements of the building, which has maintained a spot on the National Register of Historical Places since 1984, fell into a state of disrepair, especially the basement which has been subject to flooding, at points even holding four-to-five feet of water.
The building has undergone a major renovation, which includes more than $1.7 million in federally-funded energy efficiency upgrades. The energy efficiency improvements included in the renovation help the facility meet the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, which will make it the first LEED-certified municipal building in East Baton Rouge Parish, one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Baton Rouge, and a model for energy efficiency in municipal buildings.
The consolidation of these City-Parish service departments into one building along with a physically co-located “One Stop Shop” for permitting and development needs was designed to improve city efficiencies and the providing of services to businesses and citizens dealing with development, planning and permitting issues.
“We are proud to share this good news with the community and very excited to see this project come to fruition. We believe it will be widely accepted by the engineers, architects, developers and citizens who do business with the city. We wanted to make it easier for the development community to conduct their business with the city as efficiently as possible, and the relocation of the Planning Commission staff alongside various Public Works divisions will do just that,” William Daniel, Chief Administrative Officer for the City-Parish and former director of the Department of Public Works, said.
Immediately following the ribbon cutting led by Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden, City-Parish officials will conduct a guided walking tour of the new facility, highlighting the energy-efficient elements of the design improvements and providing information how the departments and divisions will work together in this new “One Stop Shop” environment.
The walking tour will be conducted by the following City-Parish officials:
• Troy Bunch - Director of Planning Commission
• Carey Chauvin - Chief Building Official
• Jim Frey - Special Project Architect
• Jim Ferguson - Chief Construction Engineer
• Gretta Meche - Service Fee Business Manager
CONTRACTORS, ENGINEERS, DEVELOPERS AND PLANNERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WALKING TOUR TO LEARN HOW THIS NEW CONFIGURATION WILL HELP THOSE SEEKING TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE CITY-PARISH