VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Change is on the way after the municipal center shooting in Virginia Beach.
On Tuesday night, the city council discussed the future of Building 2. It's remained closed since the mass shooting that killed 12 innocent people.
That building housed Public Utilities, Public Works, and other departments. Those workers are currently operating out of other city facilities.
Now moving forward, the options on the table for Building 2 are either to tear it down or remodel it.
City council members talked about three possible plans at their meeting on Tuesday. Two out of the three plans would be done in 2023, while another plan could take until 2025.
But City Manager Dave Hansen says that option won’t work.
“You want to demo building two, but it’s worth 20 million dollars as an empty shell. I don’t think the public understands the value of that structure over there, it is a mammoth building,” said Hansen.
The first option is to build a bigger City Hall that everyone could work in. With this option, building 2 would get demolished and police headquarters would see a facelift. This plan is the most expensive at nearly $145 million, and it would be ready in 2025.
Option 2 would have the police headquarters move into building 2, and the building would be renamed 531 to memorialize the horrific day. This plan means current building 2 employees would move into police headquarters and building 1. Option two would cost about $129 million, and the project would be completed in 2023.
The final option would be like option two, but for $4 million more it gives the city more power with construction changes. This project would also be finished by 2023.
Vice Mayor James Wood and City Manager Dave Hansen said option 2 or three would the best option.
“So, in my opinion, what needs to happen is that building 2 is completely gutted down to the walls completely renovated and redesigned to accommodate the police department’s needs. The police department is in building 11 and they have a really tight area,” said Woods.
What makes this situation more complicated is the city had already planned on renovating City Hall, and now they need to work Building 2 into that plan and find funding for everything.
Councilman Michael Berlucchi said that whatever the final plan is, it must be done with great care and respect.
“We need to be sensitive, we need to be accommodating to the loss and to the grief and pain the people of our city have experienced,” said Berlucchi.
City leaders said one thing for sure is the people who worked in Building 2 during the shooting will never have to work in there again.