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SCSB will shift local office to Clarksville / April 26, 2010
The Southside Community Services Board has approved the construction of a new administrative building on a five-acre tract at the Lake Country Business Park in Clarksville, according to Interim Executive Director Sarah Chipps.

The move will transfer 25 fulltime employees and three temporary workers from the current SCSB administrative office located on Hamilton Boulevard in South Boston. Data processing and reimbursement staff located at a rental property in South Boston also will be shifted to the Clarksville office.

Chipps said Friday that the move has been in the planning stage for some time. “It will provide a more central location since the agency serves three counties, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick providing mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services to residents of those counties,” Chipps said.

The move, she explained, will mean that staff of the Behavorial Health Center program, which is located at the South Boston office, will remain there, and the staff of the Halifax Children and Family Services Center will move into the South Boston facility.

“Both of these are out-patient programs and will be better served in the South Boston facility,” said Chipps. She explained that the agency’s two children and family service centers — one in South Boston and the other in Mecklenburg County — have experienced heavy growth over the past two years.

In relocating the data center, which is currently housed in a rental building, located at 1410 Wilborn Avenue, and the Children and Family Services Center, located in rental property at 921 Wilborn Avenue, the SCSB will save $2,800 monthly in rent, Chipps pointed out.

Chipps said requests for architectural proposals for the new facility have gone out and will be reviewed on May 28, after which time she hopes a construction contract can be let by October. She estimated that the proposed 14,816 square foot building might be completed by the fall of 2011. No cost figures are yet available, but construction costs will be made public once the bids are in, she said.

Chipps said the Southside Community Services Board currently has 21 facilities, with the two in South Boston the only rental properties. She said funds for the new facility will come from a reserve account which the agency has built up to cover the costs of maintaining and constructing properties.

Margaret Neblett of Lawrenceville, chairman of the SCSB, said the decision to move the administrative office to Clarksville was approved several months ago. She said that while she did not remember the exact vote, there was no opposition expressed to the move.

Neblett said she was a member of the long-term planning committee whose job it was to find a suitable location. “We are bursting at the seams and we looked around the South Boston area and couldn’t find anything that seemed to meet our needs. Others wondered why we didn’t look at a location somewhere along Route 58.”

But Neblett said after a Clarksville board member spread the word about needing a new location, members were invited to look at the Clarksville location. “It is a beautiful site and officials there worked with us so that we got a good deal. It was ready as far as water, sewer and infrastructure,” said Neblettt.

Chipps, who has been with the agency for the past 22 years, said the administration of the agency has been based in South Boston since she first started work with the SCSB. Neblett, however, said it is her understanding that administrative offices were located in Mecklenburg County years ago.

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