Board hears update on sheriff’s HQ, 911 center

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County taxpayers would cover the cost for a new emergency communications center whether or not it moves to the Sheriff’s Office future home.

The Board of Supervisors heard updates Tuesday about the project that has begun to design and build a new headquarters on county owned property at 810 N. Main St. Sheriff Timothy Carter has said throughout the process that the county could cover the cost of the project by using money, known as asset forfeiture funds, his office receives through its work with federal agencies. The Sheriff’s Office must follow certain guidelines that dictate how it can spend those funds.

The board recently inquired about the possibility of incorporating those design plans into space for a new emergency communications center. Representatives from Grimm and Parker, the firm hired by the county to design the new headquarters, came back to the board with the information requested.

Grimm and Parker estimates put the cost of a new Sheriff’s Office at approximately $8.01 million for a 29,442-square-foot facility that would include space for training and evidence storage. An earlier design for a 27,242-square-foot facility put the estimated cost at $7.43 million.

But the county also needs to replace its emergency communications center. The end of life for the aging equipment looms on the horizon and the current center also lacks space, officials have said. The county recently received proposals from firms interested in replacing the communications center. County officials are reviewing those proposals.

Grimm and Parker estimates that a new, 4,330-square-foot emergency communications center would cost roughly $2.24 million. Adding such a center to the Sheriff’s Office facility would increase the overall project cost estimate to $10.2 million. Officials have said the county could not use asset forfeiture funds to cover the cost of the emergency communications center.

The latest design of the new Sheriff’s Office complex includes a sidewalk along the front of the property and space for a vehicle shed. Grimm and Parker representatives pointed out  areas on the site where a communications center could be built and where such construction would be difficult.

The updated design puts the emergency communications center in the area originally planned for the investigations division if the county were to move forward with a plan that would include the center with the Sheriff’s Office. The investigations division would locate at the north end of the building.

If the county puts the Sheriff’s Office project out to bid this spring, construction could begin this summer.

Grimm and Parker representatives advised that the expanded building area with the communications center would require additional design work on the stormwater management and erosion and sediment control elements of the project.