VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Plans are back on track to renovate Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, after a mass shooting in 2019.
The pandemic put funding and progress on pause over the summer. It’s part of an $80 million construction project at the Municipal Center.
When renovations are completed on Building 2, city leaders said the outside won’t look much different, but the inside will look nothing like it did on May 31, 2019.
“That was pretty important, that if we were going to keep using the building that it be a healthy environment not only physically, but emotionally for everyone in there,” said Public Works Facilities Engineer Tom Nicholas.
Building 2 has been empty since the shooting that killed 12 people. But in a few months, Nicholas said it will be gutted.
“We took out all of the stairwells, we took out the elevators, we took out the core of the building with the bathrooms,” Nicholas said.
Vice Mayor Jim Wood said city leaders felt it was critical for a new department to take over the space after the tragedy.
“We would not require any staff members who worked in that building to work in it again,” Wood said.
It’s part of a larger plan at the Municipal Center. Building 2 renovations should finish in summer 2022. That’s when the Police Department’s First Precinct and police administration will move in.
“Which is, frankly -- Building 11, the police department headquarters -- is in pretty horrible shape,” Wood said.
Construction on the new city hall should finish this fall. The old city hall, Building 1, will house Public Utilities and Planning. Public Works and elements of IT will move into Building 11. Those departments should move in late 2023.
Municipal Center Renovations:
New City Hall – complete Fall 2021
Building 2 – complete Summer 2022
- New home of the First Police Precinct
Building 1 – Complete late 2023
- New Home of Public Utilities/Planning
Building 11 – complete late 2023
- New home of Public Works/ IT
After the tragedy, staff was scattered around the city. Council members are excited to bring them back together.
“It has been a trying time for everybody,” said Council Member Barbara Henley. “But at least having some dates and an idea on how things are going to come back together is just great.”
Nicholas said their design partners are ready to bring the vision to life.
“Who also get it, that this is important, this is more than just building a building,” Nicholas said. “There is a need to bring people home again and make them feel better.”