BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - After waiting nearly five and a half years, Hancock County residents are about to get a permanent home to conduct county business. The new $10 million County Governmental Annex Building on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis is just about ready to open.
Since Hurricane Katrina, a cluster of trailers on Longfellow Road has been the place to go to conduct all county business.
"You have to go from one trailer to another to get to another department. All of us in the trailers are anxious to get out of our beloved trailers and move into a real place," said County Administrator Princy Harrison.
That place is a 29,000 square foot building on Highway 90. The mammoth building across from Hancock Medical Center is hard to miss.
"It's a very attractive building. There are various aspects of this building that are eye catchers," said Joel Moody, Program Manager with Yates Construction.
The new government complex will be a one stop shop for key county offices. The Board of Supervisors, the Chancery Clerk, the Building Department, Finance Department and the Tax Collector's Office.
"It looks better than most banks; it's beautiful," remarked Harrison.
And just like a bank, there's a drive through window.
"Where the residents can pay their taxes and do business from the seat of their car basically," explained Moody.
Energy efficiency was a top priority in the design of the building, walk in or out of any office in the building and the lights automatically turn off and on.
"We put motion sensors in the work areas so that when a person leaves the room, automatically lights are turned out. We also put low flow water type features in the building. So again, we're probably achieving about 50 percent plus savings for water for the county," said Jim Brumfield, with Prior & Morrow Architecture and Engineering.
County workers say they're looking forward to making doing county business easier for citizens and saying goodbye to another Katrina memory: those trailers.
The $10 million price tag on the building is being paid for through a community development block grant, FEMA and County Insurance Proceeds. The building is expected to be ready to open to the public in May.