Herndon Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr. is hoping to be able to give his troops a special holiday present this year — a new police station.
"I'm shooting for Christmas," he said of the completion of the new station, to be located at 397 Herndon Parkway. "I think the guys have been doing remarkable well working under the current working conditions."
Clara Cates, the program's engineer, said Christmas may have to be delayed.
"We expect it to be finished late January, early February," Cates said. "We're hoping to start construction in August."
Last December, the mayor and Herndon Town Council approved the purchase of a 60,000-square-foot office building, of which 32,000 square feet will be converted into a new police station.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS personnel have begun some preliminary work inside the new building, mostly taking down ceiling tiles and other prep work for independent contractors to come in and essentially gut the entire building. The portion of the building not being used by the police is leased to a company that had been renting the space under the previous owner. In addition, the town is looking for other tenants.
The plans for a new police station had been in the works for several years. Originally, the existing station on Sterling Road was going to be torn down and reconstructed in phases, so all Cates had to do was make sure the existing plans, which were 90 percent complete, fit the new building.
Cates said the existing entrance will be moved to a corner of the building closest to the W & OD Trail. The entrance will lead to a new lobby, with a seating area, display case, access to two community rooms, as well as access to the records and communications departments.
"We'll have interview rooms, which we don't have now. The communications room will be bigger than a closet," Summers said.
Besides the lobby, the only other area that will be open to the public through direct access is the property pick-up room, to be located in the opposite corner of the building than the lobby.
THE NEW STATION will also include an indoor/outdoor kennel area, a kitchen, a secured evidence room, identification lab, exercise and locker rooms, administration offices, work spaces for the officers and a sally port, which provides a secured area while loading and unloading prisoners from vehicles.
"We're basically in a school building. We'll actually be in a police station," Summers said. "Most importantly, the new building will mean we're all under one roof. We have functions spread out all over town — the criminal investigations are in one part of town, the motorcycles are kept in another, some evidence is kept at DPW [Department of Public Works]. Another major thing is we'll have a friendly place for the community to come and talk to the police."
Cates said the Department of Public Works is hoping to hire a contractor by mid July and have construction underway by August.