Three departments out of annex building; others on the way

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Three city departments in the City Hall Annex have been moved to other buildings, City Clerk Walter Osborne said Monday.

Osborne, who is coordinating the moves of seven of the eight departments in the annex, said the planning department section, which includes the grants and housing departments, was moved Thursday, while the public works and police internal affairs offices were moved Friday.

The annex is three buildings combined. It covers an area from the middle of Walnut Street between Crawford and South, to the corner of South and east for about a half-block on South.

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City officials on Aug. 29 ordered the annex evacuated after a structural engineer’s survey of the roof revealed severe damage to the trusses and supporting beams in the rafters. A preliminary estimate put the repairs at $500,000. No decision has been made about the building.

Mayor Paul Winfield, who has suggested razing the building, said city officials were awaiting a report from a construction company representative who toured the building Thursday.

John Moss of Moss Construction of Vicksburg toured the building Thursday afternoon with North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, city Buildings and Inspection Director Victor Gray-Lewis and Building Maintenance Superintendent Sammie Rainey to see if it can be repaired and to prepare an estimate.

Osborne said the grants and housing offices were moved to the Carnegie Building, which for years housed the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library. The offices originally were in the building with the inspection department.

“The Public Works Department was moved to the Street Department on Army Navy Drive, and police Internal Affairs was moved to the basement of the Ellis Building,” he said.

He said moving dates are pending for the Human Resources, Purchasing and Mapping departments and TV23. TV23 will move into the classroom area of the Vicksburg Senior Center, the only city department not leaving the building. The Senior Center’s section of the building is in good shape.

Human Resources will occupy a section of the Ellis Building, and Purchasing will move into the offices vacated by the grants and housing departments that are east of the senior center and fronting South Street.

City officials said that section of the building also has roof problems, but not as bad as the part of the building being evacuated.

Interim Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said the Mapping Department will move to a four-office suite at the Street Department. He said city workers were installing telephone lines and computer cable to get the offices ready.

“We really just can’t shut the Mapping Department down, because city departments need maps daily,” Osborne said. “We’ll have do it a bit at a time.”

According to a summary of the engineer’s report, the trusses and beams supporting the roof’s rafters are in poor shape. The trusses, according to the report, are not adequately anchored to the walls or columns that support them and have deteriorated from water damage.

The report also said any roof repairs would require making major modifications to the building. It recommended demolishing it and building a new building.