There were boxes piled up everywhere, and the meeting room chairs were covered with plastic. But for most of the 157 employees of the town of Leesburg, the waiting was over Monday. They were in.

After more than a year of construction, the Leesburg Municipal Government Center at Market and Wirt streets was opened to the public. The $6 million red brick structure with gray and pink interior is about three times the size of the tiny stucco building that served as Town Hall until Friday.

It will house the town's police department and council chambers, as well as administrative and planning functions.

The 34-member police department, which will move into the new building's third floor next week, is now on Fort Evans Road.

The Town Council, which now meets in the Loudoun County School Board office, will meet in the new building beginning Jan. 1. The wing housing council chambers is expected to be open Dec. 21.

The mood Monday ranged from rushed to relaxed.

Most employees had finished their own unpacking Friday and during the weekend, and were conducting business as usual, in between trying to find their way around.

"We don't even know yet who's where," town public information officer Susan Farmer said as she toured the new building with a reporter.

But some folks proved easy to spot. Planner Peter Stephenson's office, not only fully set up but already tastefully decorated with pictures and personal items, stood out.

"His office looked like this on Friday," Farmer said, as Rhonda Zollner, an administrative assistant, passed by.

"I was saying how perfect Peter's office looks," Farmer said to Zollner.

"We all have," Zollner said, shaking her head. "He's the only one who's all set up."

Another office that looked perfect Monday was the one reserved for the town manager. It had everything but an occupant.

The town is searching nationwide for a new chief staff member after the departure of Jeffrey Minor, who was asked to resign last month by a majority of council members.

Minor had presided over the planning and financing of the new facility, but wasn't there to see opening day.

On the lower level, which will be leased in part to the Shenandoah College and Conservatory, town receptionist Lisa Smith wore a button reading "Don't Panic" as she hurried about.

"This is the town button. I borrowed it from {administrative assistant} Mary Mack," Smith said. "I have to return it tomorrow."

Longtime town clerk Dorothy Rosen was more nonchalant. Asked whether she liked her new surroundings, the veteran staff member shrugged.

"Oh, it's fine," she said. "Or it will be as soon as we get it set up."