The latest sign of the population growth in the east side of the county might be the upcoming relocation of Alameda County Child Support Services (ACCSS) from Oakland to Hacienda, slated for completion on July 22. Consolidating operations from two separate sites about 12 miles apart, ACCSS will now see its entire staff of 250 housed in a single building, at 5669 Gibraltar Drive, in Pleasanton.
Operating as part of the Rancho Cordova-based state Department of Child Support Services, ACCSS "establishes paternity and child support orders, collects child, medical, and spousal support payments, modifies orders, and provides medical enforcement services," all at no cost to clients, according to the agency web site.
"We represent the welfare of the child," explains ACCSS public information officer Rachel Massa. The ability to serve wage assignments to collect child support is one of ACCSS's most critical tools. After the court order and account set-up, support payments are automatically deducted from the responsible party's paycheck and transferred to the state disbursement unit in West Sacramento. By law the agency must mail a check to the client within two days.
Over the past few months, a fast-tracked, custom renovation has transformed the 67,000-square-foot Gibraltar Building into an updated, efficient work space, with 67 enclosed offices and 210 cubicles. A large lunch room will do dual duty as a venue for employee training and town-hall type meetings.
Green initiatives show up everywhere in the new facility, from energy-saving lighting and motion sensors to low-flow, automated plumbing fixtures and the mandate to use only eco-friendly cleaning products. "Ellis Partners and Hacienda Venture Portfolios, the owners, have been extremely accommodating to the needs of our organization," remarks Massa, who has been closely involved with move preparations.
Another aspect of the agency's strategy to lower its carbon footprint is Hacienda's proximity to BART, a high priority during the site search. ACCSS's former main office, although in an attractive, park-like setting not far from the Oakland Zoo, "was nowhere near BART, or even close to a bus stop. We are trying to get employees and clients to use public transportation," Massa points out. The new facility is just one mile from the Pleasanton BART station. "We scouted out the bus routes and found that the 50 line stops in front of the courthouse [the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice] right around the corner on Stoneridge Drive, so it's very close and convenient.
"Pleasanton will be a new experience for us," she continues, but informational sessions at both current locations (the legal division occupies a former bank in downtown Oakland) will help employees make the transition. Massa is also encouraged by development plans for the new county government center in Dublin and construction of the additional BART station by Stoneridge Mall. "If you look at the population growth, the county seems to be slipping east," she observes.
ACCSS plans to show off its new offices in an open house tentatively scheduled for August. For more information about the full scope of its services, visit www.acgov.org/css . The agency also maintains a toll-free hotline at 1-800-809-2955.
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