VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — We’re getting a sneak peek at the new city hall building in Virginia Beach. It doesn’t open to the public until next week.
A Virginia Beach employee described Friday, the day of the tour of the new building, as emotional. They said the building represents so much more after the mass shooting that killed 12, many of whom were city workers, in May 2019.
“This is a new start. A new building. It brings light to a lot of people’s office work and a new place for the public to come and it is the beginning of the recovery of the facilities devastated by what happened,” said Thomas Nicholas, with the Virginia Beach Public Works Facilities Group.
City officials acknowledge that they can’t prevent another tragedy, but they can change how they react. That is why the new city hall has added safety measures in place.
“After the 5-31 event, the changes that we made in the building were to add more ballistics into the building. More panels. More glass, those types of things at select locations so employees have the opportunity to hide somewhere or escape a safe way,” Nichols said. “There’s more cameras and a react group within the building… So if something happens, it is seen on a camera and someone can respond right away.”
The new city hall opens to the public Tuesday, for the city treasurer and the commissioner of the revenue offices only.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new city hall is delayed until the City Council chamber space is complete. We’ll let you know when that date is announced.