Against a backdrop of dirt and bulldozers, John Sandy, assistant county administrator, enthusiastically began the ceremony for the new Dulles South Public Safety Center. This substation — which combines law enforcement with fire and rescue — will bring a new level of public safety to a fast-growth area of the county.
"They always say that good things come to those who wait," said Sandy. "I want to thank all of the county staff that made this possible."
Among the ceremony’s attendees were members of the Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Fire and Rescue, and representatives from the South Riding community. Each took a turn to thank the community for its support in the construction of the new facility.
"To those people who will be serving in this building, we want to thank you for all you do in Loudoun County, " said Scott York (I-At Large), chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "To those who will work on this building, we wish you well and Godspeed."
SLATED TO OPEN in July 2006, the Dulles South Public Safety Center will be a first in the county for many reasons. Along with combining the major components of public safety under one roof, this facility will also be open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As the members of the Sheriff’s Office joked, this even allows citizens to search for public documents in the wee hours of the morning.
The facility is also the first in the county to be built without the use of taxpayer’s money, a trend that some believe will be new in Loudoun. Proffered by Toll Brothers Inc., the developer of South Riding, the 4.7 acres of land will fill a void that the community has been missing since its conception in 1993.
"One key improvement that is missing that this mission will straighten out is a public-safety site," said John Harris, vice president of South Riding.
To fill the void of public safety, the $5.9 million contract awarded to Milestone Construction Company was approved by the Board of Supervisors this past June. The design, construction and development of the facility is being funded by general obligation bonds, a sale that was approved in November 1999.
On the 4.7 acres of land, a 23,980-square-foot building will be split three ways. The Sheriff’s Office will operate out of a 12,000-square-foot portion, Fire and Rescue will use 11,000 square feet, and the remaining space will be developed into a community room.
WHILE THE GROUNDBREAKING was the focus of the event, some officials had their eyes set towards the future. The new facility — which combines departments, offers extended community service, and was privately funded — might open a new chapter in how public safety is developed in Loudoun County.
"This will be the model, more than likely, for the other stations we will build," said Doug Rambo, chairman of the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Commission.
Bruce Tulloch (R-Potomac), vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors, reminded attendees that it is time to look ahead and secure land for public safety before it is used for other interests.
After six years of planning and development, construction of the Dulles South Safety Center is officially underway. With a crew of bulldozers already breaking ground at the site off of Loudoun County Parkway in South Riding, the public can anticipate its opening in July 2006.
"This is huge for us," said Sheriff Steve Simpson. "We are very anxious to get started here."