paul dictos

Paul Dictos said the new office will have the state's only drive-thru window for legal documents at an assessor/recorder's office. Photo by Edward Smith

published on June 27, 2022 - 1:07 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

It was when Paul Dictos was first elected Fresno County assessor/recorder in 2011 when he knew he needed a new building.

The top floor of the Fresno County Hall of Records building in Downtown Fresno is where people go to get birth, death and marriage certificates.

“I saw people struggling to get up there on the third floor. It should have been on the first floor, that’s where the traffic is. Over 300 people come into this office every day. In the summertime before school’s open we have 500,” Dictos said.

The Fresno County assessor/recorder seal is featured on the floor of the new office. Photo by Edward Smith

 

Today, a two-story building with a $11.9 million price tag at 1250 Van Ness Ave. is nearly completed with Dictos’ staff ready to begin the move July 11.

Occupying the former Noble Credit Union building at Van Ness Avenue and Merced Street in Downtown Fresno, the new Assessor’s Office cost $2.4 million to purchase, $1.2 million for demolition work and $8.3 million for tenant improvements. Roger Davidson with Fresno County Public Works and Planning drew up the plans for the building.

It will be the first recorder’s office in California with a drive-thru window. Dictos said the former bank drive-thru will allow people seeking a legal document to never have to leave their car.

“Nobody was lucky enough to get a building like this,” Dictos said.

For those who must go inside, the new building will have 20 spaces of free parking as well as places for people to sit while they wait.

The wall facing Van Ness Avenue was brought out closer to the street to keep people from sleeping at the building, Dictos said.

Paul Dictos said the new office will be more accessible for the public, not requiring a trek up three floors of the Hall of Records. Photo by Edward Smith

 

Local artist Peggy Jelmini curated agricultural art archived with the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner to decorate the building.

The 20-ton door protecting the former bank vault could not be removed without damaging the floor, said Dictos, so now, it has become a monument to the building’s history. The vault will house the bond paper official documents are printed on.

Upstairs are 14 computers for the public to do research on properties with large windows to view the downtown cityscape.

Also upstairs is a lactation room for employees and a wellness room stocked with treadmills and stationary bicycles.

The move will be done in stages, said Dictos, to ensure that all the systems work. If anything fails during the transition, they have a backup.

But Dictos said they’ll be open in the time for their busy season ahead of the new school year as parents enroll their children.


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