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Department of Finance Awarded $4.7M To Refurbish Offices On St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Office of Disaster Recovery announces that FEMA recently awarded the Department of Finance $4,694,496 to refurbish its offices on St. Thomas.

The obligation will cover repairs to all five buildings and the parking area located in the historic district of Charlotte Amalie.

These buildings house the financial hub of governmental operations. After the hurricanes in 2017, operational capacity was severely impacted. Currently operating at less than 40% of its capacity, the facility is in dire need of restoration. Despite the lack of space, the department continues to meet its obligations to the business community and employees of the Virgin Islands government.

“Renovating the existing structures on St. Thomas is critical to the department’s goals of augmenting personnel and streamlining internal operations,” said Commissioner Designee Bosede Bruce. “The Department of Finance is grateful for this obligation and will utilize these funds to ensure that our buildings are structurally sound and able to continue operations when faced with inclement weather.”

Springline Architects is scheduled to begin working on the design of the new facility before the end of the month, and drawings should be finalized by May 2022.  Since the buildings were constructed in the 1800s and lie within the boundaries of the Charlotte Amalie historic district, all refurbishments must follow the applicable guidelines for preserving and restoring historic buildings. Once complete, the project will be put out to bid.

“The Department of Finance is the backbone of the Territory’s fiscal operations,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Office of Disaster Recovery Director. “We recognize the importance of this obligation and are excited for the staff as they take one step closer to regaining the full use of their space and restoring the historical look and significance of their buildings.”

On St. Croix, the Department of Finance offices also sustained exterior and interior damages from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A solicitation for the refurbishment of the Leroy Quinn building was issued in June. However, the solicitation did not receive any bids and was closed. The procurement opportunity will be readvertised, incorporating an additional $86,000 from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to strengthen the building and increase its resilience to future weather events.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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