Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Ocean County officials are preparing to construct a new building at 1027 Hooper Avenue to house programs administered by the Ocean County Board of Social Services and a number of other Ocean County government departments.
"We anticipate construction to begin on the three-story, 121,000 square foot building before the end of this year," said Ocean County Freeholder Gary Quinn, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Board of Social Services. "Not only will this new facility allow us to better serve our citizens, it will also provide us with a cost savings."
Quinn noted the anticipated move into the new building will be during the first quarter of 2022.
Ocean County currently leases six buildings at 1027 Hooper Avenue many of which house Board of Social Services programs. Building No. 2 on the site houses county government services including the Office of Senior Services, Consumer Affairs Department, Veterans Services Bureau, Human Services, and the Ocean County Adjusters Office.
"We will be saving at least $3 million annually by no longer having to make lease payments on the buildings," Quinn said. "In addition the new building will be energy efficient and the maintenance costs will be far lower.
"Part of the savings includes the reimbursement from the state and federal governments for housing the Board of Social Services along with the consolidation of the services into one building," Quinn said.
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders on June 17 adopted a bonding ordinance appropriating $56,800,000 for the new building of which $53,700,000 will be issued in bond and bond anticipation notes.
"The age and current conditions of the buildings that house the Ocean Board of Social Services programs have resulted in the need to replace the facilities," Quinn said. "The maintenance costs continue to increase and in the long run, this new building will be far more beneficial for our citizens and our staff.
"With our lease expiring in June 2022 this is a good time to make these plans and move them forward," Quinn said.
Once completed, the Ocean County Board of Social Services, will use 50 percent of the new facility while Ocean County government departments will use 18 percent. The rest of the square footage will be for shared services including conference rooms and other common spaces. About 400 social services board workers will occupy the new building.
Ocean County purchased 10 acres of the 1027 Hooper Avenue site and four of the current buildings located there. The site has been subdivided in order to construct the new building. The buildings purchased by the county will be demolished.
There will be 715 parking spaces for the new building along with continued ingress and egress from Hooper Avenue.
Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as Chairman of Senior Services, said the new building will be more convenient for residents to access the many services that will be offered at the site.
The new building will also house the county government offices located now in Building 2 along with the Ocean County Medical Examiner's Office, Ocean County Superintendent of Schools and Ocean County PIC (formerly Private Industry Council). Computer training rooms also will be available for job training in the new building.
"This new building will house programs that provide opportunities for many of our residents," Quinn said. "We want this building to represent the lifeline offered by the Ocean County Board of Social Services and a symbol of possibilities for those citizens that need help to get ahead."
Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, who also serves as a member of the Ocean County Board of Social Services, said planning has been underway for the new building for almost two years.
"As Ocean County's population continues to grow we need facilities that will accommodate that growth in our services," she said. "This building is needed and will meet the needs of our growing population."
The Ocean County Board of Social Services administers over 50 programs to County residents including SNAP (food stamps), General Assistance, Child Support, Adult Protective Services, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Homeless Services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid and Statewide Respite.
During the month of January 7,457 people entered the Board of Social Services buildings in Toms River to access services, averaging about 350 people per day.
"The staff of the Ocean County Board of Social Services assists hundreds of County residents every day. The programs they administer affect all parts of our populations from young families to the elderly," Quinn said. "This new building will help accommodate those high numbers of people accessing these services and also provide improved working conditions for the social services staff and all the employees in the building."
The building design was done by Mott MacDonald, the site work was coordinated by French & Parrello Associates and the project will be overseen by T&M Associates.