MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Marion County now has one central administration building for all county services.
The county bought the old Walmart off Highway 76 that was sitting vacant for several years. Now, it holds more than 20 different administrative offices giving the Marion community a one-stop shop.
This project has been in the works for more than 10 years after the county was mandated to build a new family court after the building was condemned following a fire. Staff have been working in temporary buildings ever since.
Tim Harper, Marion County administrator, said the original plan was to buy a 20,000 square-foot building downtown for just the family court and state agencies at $5.5 million and no parking.
Now, the county owns 72,000 square feet of space they renovated, which includes plenty of parking and room to expand in the future for the price of $6 million.
"We basically have consolidated six different facilities and buildings where people would have go, whether it's voter registration, whether it was the treasurer's office to go pay their taxes, to solid waste to pay their environmental services bill. Now all of that is located under one roof," says Harper.
Marion County Council also has their very own chambers inside the building. Harper said they were probably the only county in the state that had to share council chambers with their own city.
Elista Smith was one of those people who will take advantage of this. A 25-year veteran of the Marion County Council, Smith serves as its vice chairman. She said everyone was on board with the new facility.
"Not only the beautification of the building, but we get compliments to how well this works for them. So we are excited, because as long as we can keep our constituents happy, then we are happy," said Smith.
"It's something our citizens can be proud of and I applaud our county council for stepping outside and thinking a little bit different," Harper said.
There there will be an open house event where people can tour the new building at the end of March. It will be open to the public.