Posted August 31, 2001 | comments Leave a comment

Changes push back safety center’s opening

By Kevin Killen -- Daily Staff Writer

Completion of the Timbrook Public Safety Center has been pushed back due to minor construction delays, Winchester City Manager Edwin C. Daley said Thursday.

Additional insulation in one of the walls is one of the minor adjustments needed to be made by the construction crew, Daley said.

Other minor changes also need to be made, Daley said, though he did not specify what they are.

The construction of the building, which will house police, fire and rescue and emergency services departments, is being done by Winchester-based Ricketts Construction Co.

Officials at Ricketts could not be reached for comment about the delays Thursday.

Completion of the building is expected to occur about the time of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in early May, Daley said. The city originally had hoped for an earlier spring completion, he said.

However, “the delays are really minor, and the work on the building is continuing,” Daley said.

The building, being constructed on the former site of the old woolen mill building in downtown Winchester, is estimated to cost $4.1 million.

The safety center is named in honor of slain city Police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook, who was shot and killed near the site in October 1999 by Edward N. Bell.

Bell, who was found guilty of the murder in January, was sentenced to death for the crime in late May.

He currently is awaiting that sentence to be carried out at a correctional facility in Sussex.

This is not the first delay that the construction company has faced. In October 2000, construction crews uncovered underground concrete pits and vaults on the old woolen mill site.

The discovery of about a half-dozen concrete retention pits, each including a vault separated from the pit by a concrete slab, set the project back a couple of weeks.

Workers also found an underground spring. The pits, which were empty except for water, and the vaults, which contained debris, were under the finished floor of the old woolen mill’s basement, officials said.

The pits and vaults were a “complete surprise” to the officials who found them. They weren’t exactly sure what they had been used for.

The vaults and pits were about 50 to 60 feet long by 12 or 15 feet wide and 14 feet deep, officials said. The spring was located just south of the site.

The October delay did not increase cost for the project, officials said. However it postponed completion from the original estimation of December 2001, they said.

A time-honored traditional “topping” ceremony was performed on the building in April. The ceremony, conducted by Irongate Inc., a White Post steel company, consists of placing a flag and a cedar tree on top of the building after the last piece of steel has been hung.

Roughly 25 people attended the ceremony, including city leaders and members of the city fire and rescue departments and the city police.

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