Elections photo

Melia Anderson, foreground, and Kathryn McCleskey both work from their new desks on Monday at the old Fred’s Discount Store that was renovated into the new Wilson County Election Commission headquarters. Assistant Administrator of Elections Tammy Smith said that it would take a little time to get settled but that the commission was happy to be in its new home.

Growing pains can be uncomfortable, but sometimes, necessity simply requires it.

Having outgrown its old home, the Wilson County Election Commission (WCEC) has officially moved into its new location, and while leaving the old building behind was difficult, Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren said that it was the right thing to do.

The new building, long known to Lebanon as Fred’s Convenience Store, has been under renovation for most of 2021. Getting it ready to house the WCEC was no small feat and required drastically reshaping the inside of the old building to meet the needs of a commission dedicated to serving its growing electorate.

After all, Wilson County’s population explosion was a major catalyst behind the move to the bigger building. The election office has been at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon for years, but its capacity to serve as the headquarters for county elections was being pushed to its limit.

The election commission was already forced to keep its paperwork and voting machines, among other things, in a storage space at the board of education office on Harding Drive.

Now with the new building, delegating space won’t be a question that the commission has to worry about for a while.

“This is for the future of Wilson County,” Warren said. “It’s grown a lot in the last 20 years. This (building) will last another 50 years.”

He pointed out just how much room there is to expand and cater to the demands of Wilson County’s booming growth.

Getting settled

Monday was the election commission’s first official day in its new building.

“It’s gone about as smooth as any move-in process goes,” Warren said. “It’s always the finishing touches that take the longest.”

Finishing touches or no finishing touches, it hadn’t stopped curious visitors from stepping in to see the new location.

“We’ve already had people here today,” said Warren. “They came to visit and check things out in the new building.”

Leaving behind a historic building like the one on East Main wasn’t easy for Warren, despite the necessity.

“We’re going to miss the old building,” Warren said. “It had a lot of history and a lot of character. It was the oldest public building in Wilson County.”

Sometimes, change can be a positive, and for now that’s how Warren is approaching it.

“It’s a different feeling here,” Warren said. “But it’s going to be good for Wilson County.”

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