Mayor says future of Building 2 is unknown following mass shooting

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The future of Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center Complex is currently unknown, according to Mayor Bobby Dyer.

The building, which is now better known as the site where a gunman left 12 people dead and four others injured, is closed “indefinitely” while it is being processed by the FBI.

However, even after the crime tape comes down, no decision has been made on whether or not business will continue inside.

Dyer spoke about the building’s future following Tuesday night’s council meeting. It was the first time council convened since Friday’s mass shooting.

The meeting was preceeded by a moment of silence for the victims of the massacre. Afterwards, council members shared their thoughts on the victims and the events of Friday.

VIDEO: Council holds moment of silence ahead of meeting

Now the city is mulling what to do with the building that was the site of the deadly shooting. “I tell you what, it’s up for discussion,” Dyer said.

The 3-story, 40-year-old building is 92,404 square feet according to Virginia Beach Property Records. Sitting next to City Hall, it is also known as the “operations” building, serving as the office space for Planning; Public Utilities; Public Works; Permits & Inspections; Zoning; Traffic Engineering; Information Technology; and print services.

While the rest of the city offices reopened Tuesday, all non-essential staff from Building 2 have yet to return to work.

VB Building 2
Virginia Beach’s building 2 at the municipal center remains closed following a deadly mass shooting on May 31st, 2019 (Kevin Romm/WAVY-TV)

“I can imagine there are some employees that will not go back there,” said Dyer. “Can you imagine the trauma some of those people who survived are experiencing?”

When looking at other mass shootings that have occurred across the country, often times the building in which they occur are never reopened.

“We are going to make a good decision on that going forward,” Dyer said. “You know personally, I think we need to find another alternative.”

“I don’t say that I have slept very much,” said Facilities Engineer Tom Nicholas.  “Even when I’m home I’m up working through these things.”

Nicholas is in charged of getting the services inside Building 2 back up and running.  The space housed public works, public utilities, the planning department and the city’s computer hub.  It is a massive task relocating 349 employees.

“The first thing that you have to learn is not to be overwhelmed,” Nicholas added.

Nicholas and his team started jotting down a plan first thing Saturday morning.  They’ve been working around the clock which included talking to people from inside Building 2 to see what they need to work.

“Then we went to work with just knowing the conditions of the facilities and where there is space and identifying locations,” Nicholas said.

Space inside 26 municipal center buildings will now be used by the employees.  The departments can move in right away.

“Everything will be ready for people by Monday at the latest,” Nicholas added.  “Then it’s a matter of each department head saying when do I want to bring my employees back to work.”

Nicholas says it is a short term fix, but he is already looking ahead.

“What do we do with Building Two,” he asked?  “Can it be reused?  Can it be repurposed and if so what for?”

The city plans to soon put out of list where the new departments are located and when they are open to the public. 

Any alternatives for Building 2’s future are speculative at this point. But Mayor Dyer did bring up the upcoming construction of a new City Hall.

“Maybe we can incorporate, kind of alternate plans that would accommodate everything,” Dyer said.

Mckenzie Construction recently submitted the lowest bid to construct the new City Hall for $37 million.

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