Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) plans to build a three story,87,000sf office building on the site of the former Mooney Drive-In theatre with work starting later this spring.
The drive-in was a Visalia fixture from 1948 to 2006.But it ended up owned by a bank and the land purchased by the TCOE
John Caudle,Deputy Superintendent in Charge of Business Affairs says the big project – valued at $25 million – is a chance for the department to own their own property as opposed to renting from the county as they do now.
Caudle says the new complex will house 175 people and feature a large conference room to hold countywide events. Locating all departments in one space will also be more efficient adds Caudle. There will be parking for nearly 400 cars.
“Construction should take about a year with occupancy by July 2015.”
The education agency would vacate their current multiple locations on Burrell Ave in the county civic enter area setting off a scramble of other county agencies expected to be interested in the space.
Caudle says the county’s popular planetarium will be relocated to Liberty School.
Chair of the Board of Supervisors Phil Cox says their are a number of county departments who are likely interested in the two buildings the the TCOE now occupies. “I know the assessor,auditor and risk management are all needing more space” notes Cox.
Cox says more musical chairs are also in the works $40 million funded for a new jail at Sequoia Field. “We probably need to tear down the old Main Jail in the Civic Center “says Cox and make plans for how to use that space.
Cox say the county also plans to reuse the old art-deco courthouse building on Court St. ”We know it will take something like $2.5 million to reoccupy it. That’s what we are planning to do.”