Goodbye Washington Street, hello Roop Street; New Carson City post office open for business

Starting Saturday, the new main post office on the corner of Roop Street and Little Lane will open for business.

Today is the last day the post office at Washington Street, which has served as the main post office since 1970, will be open.

Mail may be picked up and dropped off at the new post office Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday is also the day for anyone with a post office box to exchange keys. Unless a customer was previously notified, box numbers will remain the same, said Gayle Reddick, customer service supervisor. She said about 140 people will be changing box numbers with the move.

The main post office serves zip codes 89701, 89703, 89704 and 89705.

"I'm kind of sorry to see it go," said Steve Schmidt, a box holder at the Washington Street post office. "It's kind of a landmark, and it's nice to have the actual post office downtown. It's convenient.

"I'm optimistic about the new place. I've always had good service here and I hope the new one will be as well."

Other than the inconvenience of trading keys, no one at the Washington Street office Thursday seemed bothered by the move.

"I think it's going to go smoothly. I haven't noticed any change of service," Elinor Bugli said. "I know we'll be moving to the new office and things will be efficient."

Everything about the Roop Street post office is bigger, from the parking lot to the employee break room.

"We've outgrown the office we're in," Reddick said. "It was made for 30 years ago. When the other office was built, there were 14 city routes. Now there are 52 routes, and 38 of them (plus six other routes) will be delivered from here."

The loading docks are bigger. Bulk mail customers now have their own dock and entrance to a room about three times bigger than the old one. The distribution area is cavernous compared with the one letter carriers now work in.

Between Friday and Monday, postal workers have to move from one office to the other, with as few disruptions to service as possible.

"We're doing OK, but it's going to be a busy weekend," Reddick said.

Letter carrier Ray Borrero said Thursday there is an air of excitement among post office employees to be "out with the old, in with the new."

"Every employee will be able to park behind the post office. Now we park on side streets or at the Nugget," Borrero said. "There's just so much room over there. We just think overall it will help operations and boost moral."

Borrero and letter carrier Lisa Bull agreed that with the holidays just around the corner, the new office couldn't come at a better time. Borrero said just having the extra space will be a safety benefit for the employees, who often deal with floors piled with packages.

"It's going to be chaos to get things organized the first couple of days, just like any new place," Bull said. "This is just so old and run down. We're way out of room. It's so gloomy in here, and so much brighter in (the new office). Hopefully, it will make people a little cheerier."

The Washington Street office has 3,250 post office boxes and the Roop Street office has 5,335 boxes. Parking will increase from 18 spaces to 78 spaces.

Like the Ormsby Station, which serves the 89706 zip code, and the post office branch at the Super Kmart on North Carson Street, the new station offers a postal store to cater to stamp buffs and people interested in post office merchandise.

Reddick said the retail center should help speed service by allowing routine purchases to be made without a long wait.

"People get to pick their stamps right off the wall," she said. "They're not limited to the selection the clerk has in their drawer. Clerks no longer have to carry a great deal of inventory."

The brick building's front entrance incorporates the design of the clock tower on top of the Paul Laxalt State Building. The Laxalt Building, built in 1888, was the site of the post office before it moved to Washington Street.

"It's so pretty with the windows and the view of the mountains," Reddick said looking out one of the west-facing windows. "It's one of the most beautiful new offices."

Construction on the $7.5 million post office, which sits on a six-acre site, started last November.


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