New Voting Headquarters a Clear Winner
The results are in on the new Registrar of Voters (ROV) headquarters and it wins by a landslide over the aging, outdated facility down the road that was never designed for election activities. The Board of Supervisors celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new location at the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa Tuesday.
“Welcome to our new 118,500-square-foot new headquarters for the Registrar of Voters administrative office and voter services center,” said Board Chairman Greg Cox. “This multipurpose facility also includes space for the Sheriff, Probation, Auditor and mail services plus 420 new parking spaces right next door.”
The gleaming new building replaces the elections facility at Clairemont Mesa and Ruffin Roads, which was built in the 1970s. The new ROV is also the last major piece of the puzzle in redeveloping the County’s 47-acre operations center. The award-winning complex now boasts four major office buildings, a campus dining center, public hearing chambers, the Medical Examiner’s Office, a parking structure and now the new Registrar’s headquarters.
“There is still a need for large-scale counting and storage even with mail ballots – storage, counting, security and year-round administrative functions,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “Counting ballots is at the heart of our democracy.”
The $73-million facility was designed to improve workflow on Election Night and provide easy access for both election workers and the public. The second story even offers an observation deck overlooking the ballot processing areas. When not conducting an election, the Registrar’s building will offer conference, training and work areas for other County departments.
“On any given day, about 3,000 employees and visitors come to this complex which represents over one million square feet,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts.
The overall campus project cost $445 million: $113.5 million in bonds and the rest paid for in cash from the County’s General Fund. The first phase of the campus project came in on time and under budget and allowed the County to reinvest $20 million into the ROV headquarters.
“I’m a native of San Diego and I’m very proud of what we’ve produced,” said Supervisor Bill Horn. “This is a tremendous gift to the future of San Diego County.”
The complex was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards aimed at conserving water, electricity and building materials. The four office buildings are gold certified and the campus center is platinum certified.
“The Registrar of Voters Headquarters was also built to LEED standards with the goal of winning yet another gold certification,” said Supervisor Dave Roberts.
Two new sculptures were unveiled during Tuesday’s ceremony as part of the County’s public art program. Two giant glazed ceramic heads by artist Jun Kaneko are stationed outside the ROV front doors (image below). Inside, memorabilia from the Registrars history is on display. (See video of public artwork at County Operations Center)
The new headquarters is located at 5600 Overland Drive in Kearny Mesa and opens to the public on Monday, Dec. 9. For the rest of this week, the public should continue to use the office at 5201 Ruffin Road.
Sculptures by Jun Kaneko outside the new Registrar of Voters building were unveiled during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.