Academy groundbreaking set for November

The Skyline Regional Criminal Justice Academy, pictured in a digital image, will be located at the end of Progress Drive in Front Royal. General Contractor Howard Shockey & Sons plans to break ground on the academy in November. Image courtesy of Front Royal Warren County EDA

The Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority is partnering with Howard Shockey & Sons as its contractor for the Skyline Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy.

The academy and its nearby firing range will be built on the end of Progress Drive in Front Royal. A recent news release from the EDA states that the academy will be 15,605 square feet and the firing range will be 15,735 square feet.

Jennifer Macks, vice president of business development at Shockey, said the company is awaiting permits for construction.

“We’re actively working on buying out the project, … getting everyone lined up,” she said. “We’ve got enough work to keep us busy till permits come in.”

She said the company is finalizing subcontractors and ordering materials in preparation for an expected November groundbreaking. The firing range will require specific materials for safety and noise reduction like specialty lighting and exhaust systems.

In order to access the site, Macks said a temporary access road will extend Progress Drive and eventually turn into a permanent road.

Shockey anticipates completion of the building by around July 2017, when the academy itself will be officially established under the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Macks said the November to July timeline isn’t an aggressive one for a project like this.

“We’re going to be working as quick as we can to get the project completed,” she said.

With groundbreaking in November, she said the foundation would likely be completed by January. The biggest challenge, she said, will come during the winter months when contractors will be working to put roofs on the buildings.

The EDA announced in March that an anonymous benefactor would be financing the $8 million project on 18 acres in the Happy Creek Technology Park. Macks said that through the designing phase, the project has remained on budget.

The state Department of Criminal Justice Services board approved the academy May 12, and it will become the state’s 11th regional academy in July. Around 730 officers from 14 area agencies will use the academy facilities, many of them coming from being members of the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy and using its satellite facility in Middletown.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com