The Lewis County government campus near the historic courthouse in Chehalis just grew one building bigger.
On Monday, Lewis County Public Works held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new building at 57 W. Main St. in Chehalis, according to a news release.
The department maintains over 1,000 miles of county roads, two airports, solid waste and various publicly-owned properties, the release stated. In addition to managing annual road maintenance and construction programs, the 160 employees at public works handle traffic engineering and geographic information systems.
“It’s a committed and dedicated team,” said Public Works Director Josh Metcalf in the release. “Everyone works well together for the public good — it’s rewarding.”
The new facility brings all of the department’s teams into one building on the central county campus, with the intention of furthering an “accessible and customer friendly in a service-focused environment,” the release stated.
“We completed this 11,000-square-foot building renovation with a county crew and county oversight, saving a lot of money along the way,” said Facilities Administrator Alex Murray.
The public works office was previously located along Kresky Avenue north of Chehalis, but that building is currently undergoing a shift as the county looks to build a new night-by-night homeless shelter. On that same campus, in a building previously owned by Washington State Employees Credit Union, a new animal shelter is set to be put in, too, replacing the location currently on Centralia Alpha Road.
“Our county facilities crew has done a fantastic job doing this in-house and saving the taxpayers,” said Commissioner Scott Brummer in the news release. “This building is part of the Chehalis heritage — a beautiful building that is now restored for many years to come, and the citizens of Lewis County can be proud of the work that’s been done here.”
Commissioner Lindsey Pollock added, “The ability to get our entire public works team into this structure has been a fantastic addition for folks to be able to conduct necessary county business in one spot.”
Beyond public works, parts of the public health and community development departments have also been housed along Kresky Avenue. The eventual goal is to bring all the county’s customer service-facing counters into one campus, according to the release.
“It’s exciting to see the first step of Lewis County’s vision of a central campus downtown,” said Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson. “Renovation of this beautiful building ensures that its rich history will be preserved in a way that will allow it to function effectively today and in the years to come. I congratulate Lewis County on this significant milestone in making public services more accessible, convenient and enjoyable.”