Work progresses on new Sheriff’s Office

Shenandoah County officials continue to move ahead on a new Sheriff’s Office headquarters.

The county received proposals in mid March from 14 firms or teams seeking to design and engineer an office complex for the law enforcement agency. Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, the Board of Supervisors and the government administration are now reviewing the proposals, Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass said Wednesday.

The review committee set up a scoring system to rank the proposals. Scoring should be completed this week, Vass said.

“I don’t necessarily think that it’s based solely on your numerical score,” Vass said. “I think there’s some input from the panel as to who. So it’s not purely based on how a respondent scores, but certainly that is a way to objectively look at the respondents.”

The panel then plans to compare the proposals and decide upon which firms they want to interview, Vass said.

“So it’s very much a vetting process at this stage,” Vass said. “We’re at the very beginning of it.”

When the panel would submit a proposal to the Board of Supervisors for its consideration remains uncertain.

Once the committee completes its interviews, the panel will select a primary and a secondary group of respondents. The committee then will begin to negotiate a contract with the primary group.

“So at this stage it’s not based on a monetary value,” Vass explained. “It’s based on the skill sets the respondent and their subcontractors bring to the table.”

The number of respondents included a “good representation” of Virginia and Mid-Atlantic-based companies.

The county is not conducting the work on the sheriff’s headquarters through the Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act, also known as the PPEA. The county had found some success in using the PPEA procurement procedures when it sought firms to renovate the old Edinburg School and the Historic Courthouse in Woodstock.

Which firm the Board of Supervisors chooses to design the facility would stay with the project in the construction administration process once the county hires a company to build the complex.

The county sought proposals rather than bids from interested companies, so the submissions do not include potential costs of providing professional services.

The county has estimated the cost of the project at $6 million with 10 percent, or $600,000, for architectural and engineering services. But the county uses the numbers for planning purposes, Vass explained.

“I think until we secured a firm, until we have secured a location, until we have secured a basic size and dimensions along with that site, it is difficult for anyone to know specifically what the final cost will be,” Vass said. “The final cost of related services, the professional services related to architectural and engineering, will be a function of the overall cost of the building itself and site development costs.”

Property on North Main Street in Woodstock near the county government center remains a possible site for a Sheriff’s Office complex. The Sheriff’s Office once used the building on the property as a site to conduct undercover operations in coordination with federal law enforcement agencies. With those operations complete, the Board of Supervisors then accepted the property from the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter has said that money awarded to his agency from assets seized in federal investigations would cover the cost to design and build a new office complex.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com