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Votes

Bringing It All Together

County plans park, public safety facilities.

By 2007, the county’s public safety facilities will be in one central location.

“Some of these uses are in certain residential areas that doesn’t find them compatible,” said Supervisor Charles Harris (D-Broad Run). "It makes sense administration-wise."

The county jail facility and the Sheriff's Office and fire and rescue administration buildings will be relocated to the site of the current fire and rescue training center and a neighboring property. The jail will be moved out of downtown Leesburg and the Sheriff’s Office administration building out of a rented facility shared with a restaurant. The three facilities will be expanded to accommodate an increased demand for their services created by an explosion in residential growth. The county's population more than doubled in the past decade from 86,100 residents in 1990 to 196,300 residents in 2002, according to the Department of Economic Development.

“The county is growing at a rapid rate. With that comes a need for additional resources,” said Jay Snyder, director of the Department of General Services.

At the Sept. 2 board meeting, the Board of Supervisors will consider approving the master plans for the Government Support Center and the Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park, projects that are included in the Fiscal Year 2004-08 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The Finance and Government Services Committee voted 3-0 at its July 21 meeting to forward the master plans to the full board, recommending their approval.

THE MASTER PLANS outline land uses for the Shellhorn Property, a 460-acre tract of land the county acquired in July 2000 that is south of Leesburg on Sycolin Road near the Leesburg Executive Airport, and a 100-acre site located directly north of the property. Together, the two properties constitute the Government Support Center.

“We wanted to see an overall concept plan [of] how it would all fit together,” Harris said. “The uses complement each other.”

The fire and rescue training and administration building presently located on the 100-acre site will be moved to the Shellhorn Property, allowing the Adult Detention Center and Sheriff’s Office administration building to be built where existing utilities exist. Since the Sheriff’s Office facilities will not be compatible with the existing fire-rescue burn building, where smoke is involved in training exercises, the facilities will have to be built after the new burn building is completed.

“The need for the jail is so great that when it opens, it will be at double bunking already, and we’ll have to begin an addition,” said Supervisor James Burton (I-Mercer).

The Sheriff’s Office administration or public safety building, which is expected to open in spring 2007, will replace leased space on Catoctin Circle and on South King Street. A new 192-bed Adult Detention Center will replace the existing jail facility, which is on Edwards Ferry Road, and will be built by Winchester company Howard Shockey & Sons at a cost of $20.9 million, a contract awarded by the Board of Supervisors on July 21. The public safety building is expected to cost nearly $13 million.

AS FOR the fire-rescue training facility, the $8.6 million project is in the design phase for a 2006 completion date. The facility, which will be located southwest of the existing administration and burn buildings, will include an expansion for eight classrooms and additional training space, along with a new high bay building and a taller burn building to accommodate training for an increase in high-rise buildings in the county.

However, before the facility can be relocated, the county has to establish an agreement with the Town of Leesburg to provide water and sewer services to the site for the facility’s use, an agreement that is under negotiation along with an extension of town boundaries that would bring the training facility into town limits. The Board of Supervisors and town council will have to approve the final negotiations before construction can begin, the conclusion of which is likely this fall, Snyder said.

In the meantime, the county plans to submit a special exception permit to rezone the Shellhorn Property for the location of a burn building on the property, likely this month, Snyder said.

The majority of the Shellhorn Property is planned for the Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park. The 370-acre park would have 17 athletic fields and a passive recreation area with forests and trails along two mountainous slope areas and the Sycolin Creek, which are located at the southern end of the property. Design of the park project, which is expected to cost $16.3 million, is underway.

“There’s a tremendous shortage of ball fields all over the county. The construction of Philip A. Bolen Park should relieve that, but it won’t solve the problem,” Burton said.

The park will provide facilities for soccer, baseball, softball and football.

“It will make us more competitive to host regional and national competitions because we’ll have a Class A facility,” Harris said.

THE TOTAL PROJECT is estimated to cost $58 million and to be completed by spring 2007.

Future projects, such as a Department of General Services administration and maintenance and storage facility, are included in the Government Support Center master plan. The facility is proposed for location on an available 9.7-acre site on the Shellhorn Property and is tentatively scheduled to be designed in 2006.

Lewis, Scully, Gionet Inc. developed the Government Support Center and park master plans under a contract the county awarded in June 2001.