Board sees new cost figure for Sheriff’s Office facility

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County’s sheriff says he can pay for a new headquarters but architects warn the construction market could push up the cost.

Grimm and Parker Architects representatives provided updated information and cost estimates for a new Sheriff’s Office headquarters to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday. The estimated cost of the project now approaches $7 million.

Sheriff Timothy Carter said he and the board need to discuss financing the project before supervisors make a commitment to build the facility. Chairman Conrad Helsley said the county should look at the cost for the full build-out. Vice Chairman Richard Walker said the county should know the cost before moving forward.

Supervisors asked the architects to come back with a design that covers all the parts of the facility the agency would need in the future – the core building plus extensions. Carter called these areas critical for his agency. Walker said he didn’t want to include the processing center that could add $1 million to the total cost.

The Sheriff’s Office had $5.37 million in asset forfeiture funds as of Aug. 31, Carter told the board. That amount includes an appropriation of $264,000 to cover current expenses for the project. The agency expects to receive $3.4 million this year in asset forfeiture funds bringing the total available from that source this fiscal period to $8.78 million of which the county could use roughly $8.2 million on the project.

District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey thanked Carter for providing information she requested. Bailey said Carter brought to the board an overdue facility at no cost to the taxpayers.

The estimated cost of the project continues to fluctuate. The architects presented an estimate of $7.47 million in June 2016 for a facility that would include a new, 26,100-square-foot building and an existing, 5,400-square-foot structure. The estimate dropped to $5.88 million four months later when the architects reduced the size to roughly 18,000 square feet. Architects provided an estimate of $6.2 million in June. The latest estimate of $6.96 million was provided in August.

The Sheriff’s Office currently occupies less than 10,000 square feet, Maj. Scott Proctor told the board.

Carter warned that his agency would fill a future headquarters to capacity at its opening.

The architects attribute the cost increase to a changing vending market. High demand pushed up the costs of skilled labor and general contractor services. The architects cut the cost slightly by reducing the construction time frame from 15 months to 12 months and lowered the height of the structure.

The current estimate does not include $350,000-$400,000 for expanded site work such as sidewalk construction on U.S. 11 and an extension of Kay Drive; $325,000-$375,000 for additions to patrol and investigations; and $300,000-$400,000 for furniture.