Nags Head officials break ground on Public Services complex

Published 8:09 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

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Nags Head officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, April 5 for the new Public Services complex located on Lark Avenue and Eighth Street.

The $18 million project has six separate areas for a total of about 40,000 square feet. The new complex, spread out over 8 acres, includes a combined fleet maintenance, sanitation and facilities maintenance building; a water distribution shop with offices; an administrative building; a vehicle storage and equipment area; a space for vehicle fueling and a washing station; and a redesigned public drop off site for bulk waste, brush disposal and recycling with a drive-up ramp.

“I think we’ll find these new facilities will allow us to have the space to maintain our equipment and our town, during good times and bad, optimizing efficiency and minimizing downtime,” said town manager Andy Garman in his opening remarks. “Our staff will have the resources they need to properly do the job that they’re so good at doing.”

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The project has been a part of the town’s strategic plan for about two years, with town staff and design firm Oakley Collier Architects of Rocky Mount working hard to create a cost-efficient complex that meets the growing needs of the town.

“While the current facilities have served us well, they have become operationally obsolete and have reached the end of their useful life,” Mayor Ben Cahoon said in a March 28 press release.

A.R. Chesson Construction was selected as the general contractor for the construction of the buildings.

“We’ve tried to pin down really efficient design based on the space we have. We’ve been able to accomplish a really compact design for our needs,” said town engineer David Ryan.

Ryan said he expects the project to take about 18 months, weather permitting. However, town employees will move into each building as it is completed.

The administration building will be built first and be located across the street from the current administration building, where the bulk item/brush collection is now.

Upon the completion of the administration building, A.R. Chesson Construction will move on to construct the water distribution building. After the current facilities distribution building is demolished, construction crews will begin work on the largest structure – the fleet maintenance, sanitation and facilities maintenance building. The vehicle and equipment storage building will be built last.

Because the complex is in the environmentally sensitive Fresh Pond area, the town has been cautious in the design plans to meet and exceed regulatory requirements, preserve vegetation and minimize impacts to the fresh pond area using low impact development techniques.

Several buildings will also be equipped with solar panels, which Ryan said he expects to pay for themselves and result in a net zero energy usage by about year 15.

The complex was financed by issuing limited obligation bonds. According to a town statement, issuing bonds for the project “allows for extended financing terms and more competitive interest rates.”

The town will ensure that public works operations continue without disruption, though residents should expect construction traffic along Eighth Street, Lark Avenue and Pond Avenue until the completion of the project in the fall of next year.