register of deeds

Greg Tillman, left, vice president of Bar Construction Co. Inc., confers with project Superintendent Rick Leonard about work on the new Lee County Register of Deeds office.

Pam Britt, the county’s Register of Deeds, is more than ready to move her office into the former Fireplace building.

“We need the room,” Britt said Wednesday.

The wait won’t be long, according to County Manager John Crumpton. Workers are putting the finishing touches on the building, which is scheduled to open in early March, he said. The move is in the first phase of the county’s plan to rework the Lee County Courthouse complex.

“This project is designed to refurbish roughly 3,600 square feet,” said Santiago Giraldo, director of the county’s Development Services.

That’s nearly double the size of the current office, Crumpton said. The floor plan gives office workers a clear view of visitors with their location at the front entrance, Crumpton said.

Britt’s office and a conference room will be on the side hall behind the counter. The expanded vault will be located in the back of the building. With 1,700 square feet, there’s plenty of room for records, historical and present.

“We’re out of vault space,” Britt said.

The fire suppression system that’s being installed is designed to keep the records from getting wet, Crumpton said.

The building, constructed in 1946, was once a Sanford Fire Department, Giraldo said. The original interior bricks walls will remain as will the large brick fireplace that will now be behind the front counter.

The walls are painted gray and the chairs will be covered in shades of blue and green, Britt said. The hallway will have tile while the offices will be carpeted, Crumpton said. A new parking lot has been developed on the north side of the building.

Bar Construction Company was the low bidder for the project, which also includes updates to the courthouse, historic courthouse and government center. Renovation of the Fireplace building is estimated to cost $1.1 million, with the total project having a budget of $6.3 million.

Crumpton said he could envision the area becoming a campus for county and court offices and courthouses.

Britt is pleased. The move to the older building is what she has longed for.

“That has been my dream since I began working in the Register of Deeds office,” Britt said. “When the county acquired it, I was ready.”