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Halifax County Sheriff’s Office to get new home

South Boston News
The Sheriff’s Office future site / August 08, 2013
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors has taken its first step in implementing a plan to relocate the Sheriff’s Department in the current County Administration building, part of the overall renovation plan for the historic Halifax County Courthouse.

On Monday the supervisors approved the payment of $61,800 to B&B Consultants for architectural and design work to the current county Administration Building, just down the street from the courthouse.

“Our top priority,” said County Administrator Jim Halasz, “is to provide sufficient temporary space for the courts to operate during the Courthouse renovation. But we cannot begin that renovation until the Sheriff’s Department is moved out of the courthouse.”

That’s where the work on the brick Administration Building, which currently houses the county administrator and his staff, comes into play with plans calling for the Sheriff’s Department to be relocated to that facility.

A feasibility study by B&B shows the interior of the building modified to provide a visitors waiting area, a conference room and renovation of the toilets to meet handicapped requirements, with the basement providing storage room.

Since the main building is not large enough to house the entire Sheriff’s Department, a new building will be constructed behind this one where the existing shop and wood office will be demolished.

This new building will provide space for deputies’ work areas, investigation staff, classroom with training area, locker room and storage. There will also be a waiting room for the public. The cost of renovating the existing administrative building and constructing a new operations building is estimated at $665,400.

Supervisors also approved a second fee of $28,400 to B&B Consultants for architectural and design plans for the county-owned USDA offices located adjacent to the Halifax Library and across the street from the Administration Building.

In those offices, B&B recommends that the current 15-foot-wide entry lobby be narrowed to just five feet, allowing for more rentable space. USDA is negotiating the rental of 2,566 square footage of the total 4,502 square foot area with the Soil & Water Conservation Office needing another 502 square feet of space.

That would leave 1,434 square foot of space for rental prospects. It would also include the renovation of the toilets, making them handicapped accessible.

The renovation of the USDA space is estimated to cost $240,753.

Halasz said work on the USDA building will not begin until the county has a signed lease with them.

The estimated cost of the two projects totals $906,153. Those costs, which will have to be paid up front from the County’s general fund revenues, will be repaid from the $2 million bond monies that the county is borrowing for courthouse renovations.

(The Supervisors earlier in their Monday evening meeting approved a reimbursement resolution of up to $2 million to cover the expenses of the relocation the Sheriff’s Department and other costs associated with the courthouse renovation.)

Work on the Administration Building is expected to begin in early 2014 with completion expected by the summer of 2014 in order that work on the Courthouse proper can begin at that time.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Arts building at the Mary Bethune Complex is being considered as the temporary location for the courts during the courthouse renovation period.

Halasz said he is working with architects from CJWM who are carrying out the courthouse study, working with the judges to accommodate their schedules. As of yet no design or cost estimates have been done for the Industrial Arts building to determine the expense involved in that renovation. The judges, Halasz said, have been very helpful and cooperative in considering the plan.

When the courthouse renovation is completed and the courts moved back into their permanent areas, Halasz said his administration, including the Finance Department, Planning and Zoning and Buildings and Grounds Department, will move into the Industrial Arts building as their permanent location.

What remains to be determined is where the county administrator and his staff will be located temporarily during the construction period. Halasz said there are several possibilities including some space at the USDA location beside the library as well in the basement of the Mary Bethune building.

“We are looking at a pretty hectic 18-24 months of construction time while trying to keep expenses as low as possible so we’ll be asking the public to bear with us through it all,” the Halasz said.

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Why not use the Halifax Elementary building for the SO?

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