MOUNT PLEASANT -- Town Hall has a sleek new look.
After more than 20 years in a former school, the offices of the mayor and administrator have moved to the former Thomas & Hutton Engineering headquarters at the corner of Houston Northcutt Boulevard and Ann Edwards Lane.
The departments of transportation, stormwater management, community development, public information and public services also have re- located to the 10,000 square-foot building.
The location gives Town Hall a high profile on the boulevard.
"It brings us together a little better. We are more organized," said Town Administrator Eric DeMoura.
Although open for business, the new quarters are still a work in progress as evidenced by empty boxes stacked in hallways, tables serving as makeshift desks and paintings propped against walls.
"I'm delighted to be here. I'm really happy," said Martine Wolfe-Miller, public information officer.
It's easy to see why. The building has a light, airy feel with walls that are as much glass as brick. Office views include the top of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge spires featured in the new town logo.
The move is a big step up for the Department of Community Development and Tourism, which was housed in a trailer. Same for some workers in the purchasing and transportation departments.
"Effectively, we're all moved over here," DeMoura said.
About 30 out of 650 town employees will work out of the new location, where Town Council committees will meet, he said.
Town Council will continue to meet in the 25,000 square-foot building further down Ann Edwards Lane. Municipal court and police locations are unchanged.
The Town Hall expansion has a "business incubator" where fledgling firms in urban and interior design and computer software design will have a home for up to a year. Room is available for two more entrepreneurs planning creative ventures. The program, Biz Inc., offers furnished, ready-to-use office space and related services for $250 per month.
Town Council purchased the Thomas & Hutton property for $2.8 million using a combination of tax increment financing, development impact fee revenue and general fund money. It spent about $300,000 on painting, new carpet and other upgrades. The move is being done with in-house staff.
The town is among the fastest-growing in the state. Since 1990, its population has more than doubled to 63,000. Town Hall has been in the old East Cooper School on Ann Edwards Lane since 1989. Before then, it was in the Darby Building in the Old Village.