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Breaking New Ground

The Social Security Administration began construction on a new office in Ironton last week.

On Sept. 7, ground was broken to build the new, single-story structure on the corner of Seventh and Vernon streets.

Bette Backus, district manager of Ironton’s Social Security office, said that the Government Services Administration has kept the new project under wraps until now.

“It’s been keep very quiet up until now because the GSA had been negotiating and taking bids and they had to award it to the highest bidder,” she said. “We didn’t want to jeopardize any of the bidding process.”

PGI Development Inc., of Powell, won the bid. The owner of the company, Pete Patel, will be the new lessor for the Social Security building.

“The main reason for us moving is that our lease is expired here,” said Backus of the current location.

The new building will be slightly larger than the current location.

“It’ll be set up so that people will be interviewed at a cubical upfront, they won’t come to the back of the office at all,” Backus said. “That will keep everyone’s information more private. You won’t be able to sit down and see Mr. Jones’ file sitting over here while we’re talking to Mr. Smith.”

Backus also said that there would be a private parking lot and a more secure interior with a barrier wall at the customer service windows. The barrier wall would allow each service window to be closed and locked.

“They expect to have the shell completed by the end of October,” said Backus, “so that the winter weather won’t stop them from working on the inside.”

Patel said that he estimates the project would take seven to eight months to complete and would be ready in the spring of 2011.