NVDAILY.COM | Local News

Posted August 1, 2012 | comments 10 Comments

New Warren Public Safety Building opens

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

The long awaited opening of the Warren County Public Safety Building arrived Tuesday as about 100 employees of the Sheriff's Office and administrative staff from the county Fire and Rescue Service moved into their new quarters at 200 Skyline Vista Drive.

Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron, frustrated by delays in construction earlier in the year, was all smiles Wednesday as he toured the almost $10.55 million, 44,370 square foot facility.

McEathron said he was especially pleased at the seamless transition of the emergency dispatch center to its new quarters over the last several days.

"There was no loss of service to the public," he said.

The new space is a far cry from the 7,200 square feet available to the Sheriff's Office in the now darkened building on Jackson Street downtown. The new building's amenities include six interview rooms, including one reserved for children. Interviews in the old building were conducted in a single room, McEathron said.

The building sits on a hill overlooking Skyline High School and rolling hills to the west. Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive tower over the parking lot, which provides 42 visitor spaces and 124 employee parking spaces within a fenced area. The former Sheriff's Office parking was in an open lot nestled between the jail and the downtown business district and a residential neighborhood.

"It's nice not to have to concern ourselves with someone walking through the parking lot who doesn't belong there," McEathron said.

McEathron said he is also relieved to have a sizable garage type enclosure attached to the building that will make it much easier to ensure that anyone arrested and brought to the building for blood alcohol testing or interviews stays arrested. McEathron said the new arrangement lessens the opportunity for escape by denying suspects a chance to flee when they exit a police vehicle into the open air.

Some of the other features in the building include:

• Separate sections for administration, investigations, patrol, civil process serving, K-9 and bicycle patrols and animal control.

• A forensic room that includes devices for lifting fingerprints and drying out evidence.

• An enclosed evidence processing bay big enough to hold a commercial bus or tractor trailer if need be.

• An E-911 communications center with plenty of extra space for future expansion.

McEathron said the building was constructed to handle additional space demands that are expected over the next 25 to 30 years, assuming the accuracy of current population projections.

"We've got a lot of space," McEathron said. "I hope this community doesn't grow that big, but the estimates show Warren County could very well grow as large as Frederick County is now."

The project finished eight months behind its originally scheduled opening in December. Deputy County Administrator Robert Childress said earlier this year that the general contractor, Nielsen Builders Inc. of Harrisonburg and its sub-contractors were "working through" problems related to "materials and specific details that we laid out in the beginning."

The county's jail inmates will continue to be housed at their current downtown location until the completion of the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail scheduled for completion mid-2014.

10 Comments | Leave a comment

    '. . . which provides 42 visitor spaces and 124 employee parking spaces within a fenced area.'
    SO, are the visitor spaces also in the fenced area like it states? If they are, then how is this going to control the area like McEathron says: "It's nice not to have to concern ourselves with someone walking through the parking lot who doesn't belong there," Guess ALL visitors don't cause any problems.

    '. . . have a sizable garage type enclosure attached to the building that will make it much easier to ensure that anyone arrested and brought to the building for blood alcohol testing or interviews stays arrested.'
    SO, they've had people escape before while being brought into the old facility?

    IF this is true: 'The county's jail inmates will continue to be housed at their current downtown location until the completion of the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail scheduled for completion mid-2014.'
    THEN the residents of Warren county will STILL be paying to 'SUPPORT' both places at the same time. Not nice to the taxpayers of Warren County. Way to think about them.

      John, You're a whiner and you're splitting hairs with those comments. I don't understand all the negative comments regarding the Public Safety Building and the Regional Jail. Maybe all the complainers should start doing some community service projects that would help to deter crime so there would be less of a need. Maybe you could find a better way to deal with the drunks, wife beaters, heroin addicts, thieves, rapists and all the other lawbreakers. However, I hear the Hotel McEathron is busting at the seams. I want a Sheriff that has what he needs to keep the rest of us safe. Let the people who are working in public safety determine the needs for the jails and work space based on what they are dealing with. They are the experts, not us. Congratulations Sheriff McEathron, you've worked a long time to get the Public Safety Building that was needed. We appreciate that you knew what was needed and worked with that goal in mind. Glad we have a proactive Sheriff.

    I don't even know why i waste my time and respond to ignorance, but I'm going to anyway. The "42 visitor spaces" are NOT inside the fenced in area.

    The new Public Saftey Building had NOTHING to do with the current Jail, as the old Sheriff's Office and the Jail are two seperate buildings.

    Inform yourself or your community before making ignorant comments.

    Have a great day :)

    Inform yourself OF your community.....

      It's not ignorance.
      Read it as it's written. That's what I did. IF they meant something different, they should have written it that way. There is the word 'AND' in that sentence. AND means along with. MAYBE the author of the story should have made 2 sentences, you think. That's what I was taught in school. It's called ENGLISH.

      Why mention the jail IF it did not have ANYTHING to do with this facility or story? Makes you wonder. After all, this story is supposedly ABOUT THIS FACILITY. NOT THE NEW JAIL.

        Two guesses as to why this information was included even though it has nothing to do with the other, in your opinion. 1) The newspaper decided to include it or ask questions about it or 2) so that people like you, who like to look for reasons to complain wouldn't respond to this article in reference to why the information wasn't included.

        Some people you just can't make happy. My guess is that you are probably one of them.

    Dear JOHN... (wonder how many letters like this you have received) -- Okay... DEAR JOHN,
    your remarks are uncalled for... either you are a disgruntled ex-employee that is very very jealous... or you are from another agency putting your bad behavior out here to make yourself feel better..OR... you -- yourself MAYBE a criminal... which - ever one you are....go away sour milk. (now that you got something off of your chest... stop being jealous!!! These folks work very hard for the safety of others)... Sounds like you need to just go take a nap. I drove up into the new parking area... that place is beautiful.. our county is changing leaps and bounds.. The Skyline H.S. is just amazing to look at as well... The new schools give our county a refreshing and uplifting view of WARREN COUNTY !! This new Public Safety Building.. a new regional jail... new stores on our North end.... AWESOME!!! Thank you to all of our men and women who have put their lives on the line for us .. DAILY. -- GOD BLESS... and my my ... how deserving these folks are to have that wonderful new facility to go to work in everyday. I am 67 years old.. have seen a lot of terrible things in this town and county..I have also seen a lot of great things take place... I am happy to see anything new and enlightening happening here... these children will benefit... our adults working for our safety deserve a wonderful place to do their work... TAKE THAT JOHNNY !!

    First of all, the comments by John were valid questions.... One thing that he didn't quite mention is that there have in fact been several escapes, which will continue to be a problem since the inmates will still be at the old facility.... What did one of you call it? Hotel McEathron.

    I would propose a name for this facility in the same spirit...

    I call it... The Taj McEathron.

    The same fools that brought this in over budget and behind schedule are the same fools managing the building and staffing. If they can forget a comms tower for a EOC (duh), what are they hiding on that project? Also, this building was originally scheduled to open June 2011. Opening date of December 2011 was changed after the ground was broken.

    Editing mistake on my part. What I meant to say was "same fools managing the building and staffing of the regional jail".


Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137