A New Town Hall for Leland
Bringing the staff together under one roof and significantly upgrading the Town Council meeting chambers is a fitting move as this growing town celebrates its 25th anniversary.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Megan Deitz and Jason Hudson
If you frequently travel down Old Fayetteville Road in Leland, you’ve seen a large L- shaped building sprout up over the last 20 months or so. That building is the new Leland Town Hall, and it’s going to put all of the Town of Leland’s services under one roof. Mayor Brenda Bozeman, Town Manager David Hollis and Councilwoman Pat Batleman couldn’t be more proud of it.
“I think I can speak for everyone who works for the Town of Leland when I say that we’re really looking forward to moving in,” says Bozeman.
The building will be a big improvement over the town government’s previous operations.
“This move is important for the town,” says Bozeman, “but it’s very important to Mr. Hollis.”
As town manager, Hollis oversees every department, and currently his departments are housed in four different locations around town. The bouncing back and forth, crossing town time and again, becomes tedious.
“Once we have all of the town’s staff under one roof, we’ll be able to become more efficient in the way that I work with departments and in the way the departments work with one another,” Hollis says.
Introducing work efficiencies is one of Hollis’s goals for the new Town Hall. Upgraded computer programs will make intra- and inter-departmental communications easier, and the amount of meeting space will allow for multiple simultaneous meetings, both small and large.
One of the most impressive spaces is the new chamber for Town Council meetings. This 2,900-square-foot room is a much-needed upgrade over the current chambers. It has seating for 186 and a sophisticated audio-visual system that will enable Town Council members to be seen and heard by everyone in the room. An automated system connects the video, audio and even window shades in this room, so that when someone turns on the screens, the sound goes live and the window shades draw themselves closed to improve viewing.
An overflow meeting and training room across the lobby from the Town Council chambers will allow even larger crowds to participate in town meetings. This room measures some 1,700 square feet and is outfitted with speakers, video screens and televisions that will broadcast the sights and sounds coming from the main meeting room.
These two rooms are only part of the two-story Town Hall. Downstairs, a lobby and reception area, complete with a curved staircase with sleek glass rails, will welcome visitors. Stretching out to the north and east from this rounded central hub are two wings. Downstairs, one wing will house the Leland Police Department; the other will house town offices and records.
Along the police wing, there are offices, meeting rooms, a secure interior room for booking, and a space for exercise equipment (for use by both the police department and all town employees). The wing opposite has a similar bank of offices, meeting spaces, a break room, secure rooms for storing sensitive records, and a payment window and cashier for public payment of utilities and other town-related fees.
Upstairs, the layout is similar. Here you’ll find the Town Council chambers and overflow meeting/training room, as well as the “bullpen” of police department detectives and a handful of other offices belonging to the police. Down the other wing is where the mayor’s office and offices for the town government can be found.
“Every office has a window,” says Hollis. “We thought this was important for morale. It’s good to get natural light in your office and have a little bit of a view instead of staring at the walls all day.”
Downstairs, off the lobby, is a flexible lease space where an organization like the chamber of commerce could keep offices or a coffee or sandwich shop could set up to serve the building.
The new Town Hall is just down the street from the old one, and Hollis says that the town doesn’t have any definitive plans for the former buildings at this time.
“We’re not settled on what to do with these buildings, though there has been informal talk of what we could do with them,” he says. “Personally, I’d like to see nonprofits in these buildings; we have a lot here that do a great service to the community and this would be a great spot for them. An incubator office space for small businesses would be nice too. That’s something that could help establish Leland as a place that’s friendly to business, which only helps us grow more.”
More growth is on the minds of everyone in Town Hall (and most people in North Brunswick County), but to focus on the future, Bozeman and the rest of the town government like to look to the past.
“Moving into our new Town Hall coincides with Leland’s 25th anniversary as a town,” says Bozeman.
When Leland was founded, the population was well under 2,000 residents. Twenty-five years later, the sleepy burg has grown to 10 times that size, something that was unexpected and unpredictable when those original Lelandites voted to incorporate. Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, Leland’s population has exploded, and along with that growth has come the need for infrastructure improvements, expanded amenities and increases in both the staff and duties of the Town of Leland.
“It’s fitting that during a period of steady growth and modernization of the town, we can grow our facilities and build something that will serve the town very well for another three or four decades,” says Hollis.
Leland’s New Town Hall at a Glance
Square Feet: 44,009
Town Council Chambers: 2,900 square feet with seating for 186
Overflow Meeting and Training Room: 1,700 square feet
Budget: $10 million, though actual costs are projected to come in closer to $9 million
Funding: Low-interest loan provided by BB&T (APR 2.14%)
Architect: LS3P Associates
Builder: Paragon Building Corporation