Several Harnett County Departments will transition to a new location later this month as construction wraps up on the new Harnett County Resource Center & Library. The Resource Center & Library is located at 455 McKinney Parkway, Lillington, in the Harnett County Government Complex between the Courthouse and Health Department.
The facility will connect the county’s residents to valuable resources and will provide enhanced programming and learning opportunities for all citizens of Harnett County.
Nearly half of the 56,000-square-foot Resource Center & Library will be home to a new, modern Harnett County Public Library. The facility will also provide a new home for Harnett County Veterans Services, which will have direct access to the Harnett County Veterans Memorial Park and to other County departments, connecting the County’s 15,000 veterans to valuable resources and services.
Other departments that will be located in the facility include the County’s administrative offices including the County Manager’s Office, Finance, Human Resources, and Legal, along with Parks & Recreation. The facility will also house a new meeting room for the Harnett County Board of Commissioners and a 4,000-square foot training and meeting space that can be subdivided to host smaller meetings and training sessions, as well as large events.
“The opening of the Harnett County Resource Center & Library is a significant milestone for the County and will provide greater access for the County’s citizens and veterans to valuable resources,” said Commissioner Barbara McKoy, who was on the Board of Commissioners when the project was approved and throughout its development. “The Board of Commissioners believed this facility was needed to keep up with our county’s rapid population growth and increasing demand for services. I am extremely proud of this new facility, and believe our citizens who use it will be as well.”
The current County Administration Building at 420 McKinney Parkway, Lillington, and Veterans Services Office at 817 South 8th Street, Lillington. will be closed to the public Thursday, January 28 and Friday, January 29 for staff to complete the move to the new facility. All departments except for the Harnett County Public Library are expected to be operational in the new facility on Monday, February 1.
The Public Library closed to the public and suspended checkouts January 11 in preparation for the department’s move to the new facility. The Library is expected to reopen in early March, however an official reopening date has not been determined.
Following the transition to the Resource Center & Library, the current County Administration Building will undergo minor renovations before becoming home to Harnett County Development Services and the Harnett County IT Department. Harnett County Solid Waste’s administrative office, which is currently collocated with IT, will move to 200 Alexander Drive. More information will be provided prior to these moves.
The moves will mark a significant milestone in the County’s efforts to accomplish the decades-old master plan of bringing all County offices to a single campus to make doing business with the County more convenient for the public. The master plan was developed in 1992 and recommended locating a new government complex on a 340-acre parcel of land just north of the Cape Fear River in Lillington along U.S. 401. The goals of the master plan were to:
- project the County’s facility space needs through 2090 and develop a site plan to accommodate those needs;
- consolidate all County facilities onto one site and enhance efficiency of its operations and the availability of quality services; and
- provide the ability to phase construction of this long-term project in an orderly and cost effective manner.
The County purchased the site of the present-day Harnett County Government Complex in 1991 and opened the current Health Department and Department of Social Services in 1996. A new Harnett County Courthouse opened on the site in 2002, and since that time, new facilities have been constructed or acquired in and around the complex.
“County leadership has continued to follow the guidance of this strategic planning tool discussed by multiple boards for many years,” stated Harnett County Manager Paula Stewart. “Land was initially purchased by the County to develop a campus that would house each of the County departments that were previously located in thirty-eight different facilities throughout the County. I am excited to have worked with our team to accomplish the main goals of this Master Plan in order to provide more efficient County operations and a better citizen experience.”
Planning for the new Resource Center & Library began in 2015 following an evaluation of the County’s space needs. In 2017, the County made the final payment on the Harnett County Courthouse, which freed up debt capacity to finance construction of a new County building. The facility will address increased service demand stemming from Harnett County’s rapid population growth. Numerous County departments, including the Harnett County Public Library, are out of room and need more space to provide programming and services for the County’s residents.
In addition to the Resource Center & Library, this project included a 5,000-square-foot expansion of the Department of Social Services, which was completed in July and resulted in Child Support Enforcement leaving rented space in Erwin to join the rest of Social Services in Lillington in August. Other improvements include additional parking, greater road connectivity throughout the complex, a new access drive off of McKinney Parkway, and a new four-way stop at McKinney Parkway and Alexander Drive. The turn lane at the north end of McKinney Parkway will also be extended.
Stewart is looking forward to the grand opening of the Harnett County Resource Center & Library. “The completion of the Resource Center & Library is a huge accomplishment for the County,” stated Stewart. “Not only are we able to provide a new resource center that will focus on making government services more accessible to the public once mass gatherings can take place again, but it has allowed the County to close a chapter on a nearly 30 year old master plan.”
County leaders will hold a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony for the Resource Center & Library in Spring 2021 along with a virtual video tour of the facility. Public access will be limited at first due to COVID-19 precautions.