New town police home cost rises again

FRONT ROYAL – The cost of a new town police headquarters could reach close to $10 million, leaders learned this week.

Representatives from Moseley Architects updated Town Council on the project at a work session Monday. The design development report, revised last week, as provided to council and town officials, showed an estimated cost of $9.29 million. The amount exceeds the $9 million estimate that included a construction cost of $6.84 million as provided by Moseley in July. The construction cost estimate increased to $7.03 million.

Council agreed to move the project forward and to take action at its next meeting.

The town plans to build a facility on land at Kendrick Lane and Monroe Avenue that once served as a parking lot for the former Avtex Fibers plant. The current design calls for two buildings covering 21,600 square feet with 14,600 serving as the main headquarters. The design would suit the department’s needs for 25 years, architects said.

The Economic Development Authority has identified ways to help fund the project, Executive Director Jennifer McDonald told council at the work session. The New Market Tax Credit program could allow the town to borrow the funds needed to cover the cost of the project, McDonald said.

Councilman Eugene Tewalt said he supports the project but reiterated his concerns over where the town would find the money to pay for the facility. Tewalt voiced relief at McDonald’s disclosure but also criticism that she just revealed the information.

Councilman Bret Hrbek said he wants the town to move forward on the project, noting that the cost increases as more time passes.

The cost to build the facility continues to escalate from the initial $4 million estimate given when council first endorsed the project. Tewalt pointed out that council pushed for the project long before the town identified funding sources.

The Front Royal Police Department operates out of the former Warren County Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Jackson Street for $3,000 a month. The town accelerated the department’s move from the former post office building when crumbling ceiling tiles revealed asbestos.

Council voted 4-2 in late February to adopt a resolution to pursue the design and construction of the facility that would serve the department’s needs until 2040. At the time, Moseley put the cost at almost $8 million – roughly $2.5 million more than earlier estimates. Tewalt and Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger voted against the resolution at the meeting. Council voted 5-1 in late July to authorize the advance of the final design of the project. Tewalt again voted against moving forward on the project until the town identified funding sources.

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