County picks designer for new Sheriff’s Office

Shenandoah County will pay an architect up to $72,000 to start designing a new headquarters for the sheriff.

County officials announced Tuesday that Grimm and Parket Architects, of McLean, will initiate design, architectural and engineering services associated with the creation of a new Sheriff’s Office complex. Officials executed the contract documents Friday. The county budget includes $72,000 for such services. The firm will manage the project from its Charlottesville office. The proposal estimates the phase, split up into four tasks, could take about four months.

Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass explained Tuesday that the approved proposal and contract initiates the first phase of the project. Grimm and Parker will provide the county and the Sheriff’s Office with programming, site selection and conceptual design services as well as a preliminary cost estimate. Vass defined programming as when the architect and the Sheriff’s Office discuss current conditions and estimate future needs.

“They had the right level of relevant experience in the design of public safety buildings,” Vass said. “The team they had assembled impressed the review panel and led us to our decision.”

Grimm and Parker designed and engineered the following municipal projects:
• Albemarle County Public Safety and Human Services Center
• Bowie, Maryland, Police Headquarters and City Hall
• Laurel, Maryland, Police Headquarters
• Towson, Maryland, University Police and Public Safety Building
• West Springfield Government Center

The county intends to use asset forfeiture funds – money the Sheriff’s Office receives through its collaborative work with federal law enforcement agencies – to cover the cost of the design services. The contract limits the cost of the first phase to $72,000. The estimated cost for architectural and engineering services as well as construction administration for such a project, from beginning to completion, is closer to $600,000, Vass noted.

The county advertised a request for proposals earlier this year from firms interested in designing a new sheriff’s complex. The Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson set up a panel to review submissions. The panel included Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese, Sheriff Timothy Carter, Capt. John Thomas, county Facilities Foreman Duane Williams and Vass. The panel reviewed the proposals and narrowed the number to four, which they then interviewed. Panel members also toured facilities designed by the four firms during the review process.

The panel considered proposals submitted by Moseley Architects in Richmond, RRMM Architects of Chesapeake and HVC-Chenault Architects in Richmond. Costs associated with the proposals were not included in the submissions per procurement regulations. Instead, the panel negotiated costs once they selected a firm.

The Board of Supervisors did not have to accept the proposal or approve the awarding of the contract. Vass explained that staff proceeded with procuring the architect based on the appropriation of funds in the budget.

“I would characterize it as (the board) left it up to the procurement procedures,” Vass said.

Once the architects select a site and create a preliminary design, county officials would need to decide how to proceed. The plan is to use Grimm and Parker through the entire part of the design and engineering portion of the project, Vass said.

“The proposal includes engaging the Board of Supervisors with some regularity throughout the process from beginning to end and, ultimately, the Board of Supervisors would have to approve any appropriation of funds for actual construction,” Vass said.

Once the firm creates a preliminary design, the county can then seek bids from firms interested in building the project.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or