One major department of Fresno County employees is planting its roots deeper in the city’s downtown, while another department will be moving a significant portion of its workforce to Clovis starting next year.
County supervisors approved a pair of leases Tuesday: one for the District Attorney’s Office to consolidate several scattered divisions into the historic Rowell Building at Tulare Street and Van Ness Avenue in the heart of downtown; the other for the Department of Social Services to relocate and consolidate much of its administrative and back-office support staff to a building formerly occupied by Pelco/Schneider Electric on West Pontiac Way in Clovis.
The 10-year lease for the Rowell Building will cost just over $15.1 million, and the county plans to buy the building at the end of the lease. District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp told supervisors that the six-story building will allow her to combine staffs that are now spread across three floors of the nearby 21-floor Fresno County Plaza and five other buildings in downtown. The building is across the street from the Fresno County Courthouse, making it convenient for prosecutors and other staff doing business in court. All told, about 250 positions will be affected.
Extensive renovations to the Rowell Building are to be completed in June so prosecutors, investigators and staff can move in then.
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The Department of Social Services expects to start moving into the former Pelco building in early 2018. At 101,000 square feet of office space and nearly 50,000 square feet of warehouse space, the site will be the workplace for administrative staff and workers who have little contact with the public.
Delfino Niera,social services director, said those workers are now distributed among seven different sites, including offices on the Fulton Mall and elsewhere downtown. They are among the department’s 2,600 workers who are scattered across more than 40 buildings throughout Fresno County.
“I know 100,000 square feet sounds like a lot, but our department requires 600,000 square feet,” Niera said, adding that many of the buildings now leased by Social Services are old and out of date.