By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Christmas cheer came early for Lee County operations as its board of supervisors and staff officially moved into long-time-coming space downtown.
“After 17 years, it’s kind of nice not to have to work out of the back of my truck,” joked District 4 Supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy on Monday as the board welcomed the public to its new office complex in the former Community Development Foundation facility.
Economic developer CDF moved into its own facility just off Main Street in Fairpark earlier this year.
Monday, it was “the people’s building” being returned to total public functions, said Board President Phil Morgan, who represents District 1.
The board officially cut the ribbon and hosted a holiday open house for the public this morning.
The prominent brick building at 300 W. Main St. has been a post office, housed chancery court functions and hosted other roles. But with CDF’s move, the county saw an opportunity to build space for work previously squeezed into tight quarters in the Lee Justice Center.
While the exterior looks much the same, except for a new sign over the front door, the interior has been reconfigured for more open space. The carpet is a cream and taupe design, and the walls are painted in warm shades of sage and taupe with white wood trim.
Each supervisor has a private office. Board officials Bill Benson, the chancery clerk, and Gary Carnathan, its attorney, will remain in their current offices two blocks to the north.
“We’ve been working out of a mop closet for a long time,” said Morgan as he looked with pride at the finished project.
The renovation price tag was about $400,000 from existing funds, said County Administrator Sean P. Thompson.
He said space will be available for public groups to meet, too.
The board’s meeting room is impressively large, compared to the small room where the board once held its meetings.
The facility also features a high-tech video conferencing system set up by the Mississippi State University Extension Service for multi-county communications.