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Farmington • With the opening of the new Davis County Administration Building, visitors can conduct their government business and get a nice dose of culture at the same time.

Dozens of paintings and photographs line the walls, and sculptures and ceramic pieces also are on display. Most of the nearly 100 pieces of art were created by Davis County artists and the rest by residents in other parts of the Wasatch Front.

"It's almost like a little art museum," Davis County Planning Director Barry Burton said. "The quality of art is just amazing."

The building is part of a $24.2 million makeover at the corner of Main and State streets, where many of the county's government services are located. The other parts of the project are a new library and a Children's Justice Center that provides a safe environment for children being interviewed about alleged abuse.

The justice center, at 98 S. 100 East, held its grand opening in April, and Headquarters Library, 133 S. Main St., officially opened in October. The old library at 38 S. 100 East will be torn down in the spring and a parking lot put in at the site.

County departments moved into their new home in October from the Memorial Courthouse, 28 E. State St. The recorder's office waited until after the election to make the transfer and settled in last week. It was a short trip south to 61 S. Main St.; the two buildings' parking lots are adjacent to one other.

The impetus for the project came from the Health Department's move a few years ago from the Farmington civic campus to Clearfield, where the county paid $7.23 million in cash to construct a new building at 22 S. State St. With space available next to the Memorial Courthouse, the county took advantage of lower construction costs that resulted from the economic downturn, said Curtis Koch, chief deputy of audit/finance in the Clerk/Auditor's Office.

The construction was funded with $19.8 million in bonds and $4.4 million from the county's capital projects budget. There was no tax increase connected to the project.

The construction replaced outdated buildings. The old courthouse was built in the 1930s, with rear portions added in 1957 and 1978, bringing the square footage to 81,000 square feet. The new buildings are energy-efficient and laid out to provide better service for residents, according to Davis County Commission Chairman P. Bret Millburn.

He said some government functions were spread out over more than one floor at the Memorial Courthouse. Now they're grouped together and the departments that get the most customers, including the recorder and auditor/clerk, are on the first floor of the three-story administration building, Millburn said.

The building is heated and cooled by a geothermal system and all light fixtures are energy-efficient.

"When we embarked on this project, we decided we wanted to go as green as possible," said Burton, who was the project manager.

The administrative offices and the one-story library are connected by a hallway and have shared meeting space between them. Wood and stone on both the interior and exterior of the offices and library help tie them together.

County administrators wanted artwork for the building and held a contest to pick some pieces to display, as well as photographs from a county fair competition. Some of them are marked for sale to the public and others will be returned to their owners in about six months.

Davis County intends to hold an annual contest and wants to build a permanent collection, Burton said. Chevron Oil Company has kicked off that effort with a $20,000 donation.

The Memorial Courthouse will house the facilities department, the Utah State University Cooperative Extension and a legal defender office. In addition, the Bountiful/Davis Art Center will move there temporarily in January from Bountiful, where its current home is being torn down to make room for a new city hall. The old Bountiful City Hall will be renovated for the art center and the South Davis History Center, with the work expected to be completed in about two years.

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC —

New digs for government agencies

Davis County is close to completing a major makeover of its civic campus in Farmington that houses many of its services. The $24.2 million build includes a new administration building, library and Children's Justice Center. The administration building and Headquarters Library, which are connected by a hallway, total 94,000 square feet and the new Children's Justice Center is 6,500 square feet. The architect is Blalock & Partners and the general contractor is Wadman Corp.