Chief: Current building no longer meets needs of 50 employees
By Joe Beck
Front Royal Police Chief Norman Shiflett is taking the first steps down a path he said he hopes will end with the building of a new station within five years.
Shiflett said Friday the 4,000 square foot building at 24 W. Main St. no longer meets the needs of the 50 employees who work there, and he has identified five sites as possible locations for the new building.
Shiflett said he wants more space for communications equipment, evidence storage and offices. Periodic flooding in the basement where heating and air conditioning equipment operates is also a problem, he said.
"We're confined to small offices," Shiflett said. "When we do expand manpower, investigative or administrative staff do not have space to accommodate an expansion."
The department's training room was so full during a recent presentation that "people were literally stepping over one another," Shiflett said.
He described the building's design as unattractive to visitors who encounter a tiny lobby, a locked glass door and intercom they must buzz to notify those inside after entering the building. Shiflett has identified improving communication with citizens community access to the department among his top priorities.
"The building is not very friendly as far citizens coming in," Shiflett said.
The current building has not expanded since it was built in 1922. The police department has occupied it since 1985.
Some of the five sites under consideration for the headquarters would require a new building. Others would involve converting an existing structure. Some are near the current downtown location and others are farther away.
Whether it's an old or new building, the next police headquarters will be expected to last at least 20 years, Shiflett said.
The sites under consideration include the nearby town hall on Royal Avenue, a building that is soon to be vacated when government offices move to the former BB&T building on Main Street. Other possibilities include a site on the Avtex Fibers Superfund site, a vacant building near the former headquarters of the Warren County Sheriff's Office, a site near the former county social services building on Commerce Avenue near the Fantasyland playground and a site near the Warren County Senior Center on Commonwealth Avenue.
A consultant will be hired to help in choosing a final site.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org