As anyone doing business with Napa County has probably noticed, the county administration building is currently in the throes of a $2 million renovation and maintenance project.
On the first floor, the public lobby’s walls are in the process of being painted, and the ceiling tiles have been removed, exposing pipes and the ventilation system.
The project has limited public access to the second floor, and diverted permit applicants to a temporary location on the first floor. Access to the second floor is by appointment only, as construction crews are moving around offices, cubicles and conference room space.
The remainder of the building remains open during regular hours through the construction process, county spokeswoman Elizabeth Emmett said.
“For people visiting the county building, it’s not attractive but at least it’s not in the way,” Emmett said.
Once finished, the project at the Third Street location will consolidate the county’s permitting divisions into a one-stop permit shop on the second floor. Emmett said the goal is to make the process easier for the public by putting all of the permitting staff and resources in one location. Previously, some projects would require going to multiple departments.
“That’s a huge improvement and we’re really looking forward to that,” Emmett said.
Construction on the permitting area began in January and is scheduled to continue through April 10. Emmett said some disruptions are expected during the construction, but the county hopes the impacts will be minimal to the public.
“Our customers have been very, very understanding,” Emmett said. “It’s jarring. There’s a lot of people trying to work in a small space.”
The work coincides with a reorganization of county departments that moved staff from the former Environmental Management Department into the Planning and Public Works Department. Steve Lederer, the former director of Environmental Management, took over as Public Works director last year.
The departments switched floors, with environmental health staff moving upstairs and public works moving to the first floor, Emmett said.
The county has also begun some improvements on the first floor lobby, which will include new paint, carpeting and ceiling tiles. Emmett said a third phase of construction is set to commence this summer, which will include maintenance work on the side of the administration building facing Third and Coombs streets.
The total cost of the permitting, lobby and exterior construction projects is estimated to be $2 million. Half of that will come from the county General Fund, while the other half will be funded from an accumulated capital outlay fund. Emmett said the costs of the exterior maintenance project will be partially offset through payments from a former county contractor.
“We had some real needs with this building,” Emmett said. “It’s not like we could leave this building totally alone and have it be OK.”