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Votes

Local County Projects

* Public-Use Complex: Fairfax County is constructing a public safety, emergency operations and transportation center on 130 acres on West Ox Road, across from Costco Plaza in Fairfax. It will unify state and county representatives in one place in the event of a crisis, natural disaster or other emergency and may even improve traffic flow in the vicinity.

The multi-faceted, public-use campus is Fairfax County's baby, but it involves other entities, as well, including VDOT and the state police. And county and state personnel designed the complex's master plan together.

Groundbreaking was in late November 2005; construction will begin this year and continue for at least two years. Price tag for the entire West Ox Complex is an estimated $250 million. It's a partnership between the county, state and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Comprising the complex will be a Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (PSTOC), Bus Operations Center, Police Forensics Facility, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) facilities and Virginia State Police Division 7 Headquarters.

The new police forensics lab will have better and enhanced technology and way more space than it has now. And the police department's 911 call center will no longer be squished into a tiny room in the Woodburn facility.

The project will be built in phases, through 2025, with the capability for future expansion. Phase one will be the 114,000-square-foot PSTOC, with building construction earmarked for completion by November 2007. Its estimated cost is $122.5 million — including $102.5 million for the county functions and $20 million for the State Police and VDOT portions.

Contained within PSTOC will be the county's Department of Public Safety Communications (911 call center), Office of Emergency Management and Emergency Operations Center. Also there will be the State Police Division 7 call-takers and dispatchers, plus VDOT's Smart Traffic Center comprised of its Traffic Management and Signal systems.

The county will use some 93,000 square feet of that building, and the State Police and VDOT will occupy about 21,000 square feet. The county police department's separate, $13 million, 33,000-square-foot Forensics Facility will be co-located with PSTOC.

Currently, if there's a crisis, natural disaster or other emergency, state and county representatives must respond from individual locations scattered throughout the area. There's no central command facility where they all join together. But that will change when the Emergency Operations Center sets up shop within PSTOC.

And it will be a secure structure — for the security of both the workers and the systems within. It will safeguard access to the crucial functions the county will rely on in the event of a disaster, when rapid and easy communication is critical.

The complex will also include a new building for VDOT's Northern Virginia District Office, which currently leases space on Avion Parkway in Chantilly. Construction on the new building is to begin in mid-2008 and finish by December 2010.

This 195,000-square-foot building will house a 158,000-square-foot VDOT District Office, 22,000 square feet for the State Police Division 7 Administration (now on Braddock Road in Fairfax) and 15,000 square feet for a county-run daycare center and cafeteria for West Ox Complex employees.

Currently, VDOT has no direct link to information on county roads, except for interstate highways, such as I-66. It relies on phone calls from the police or residents to say there's a major accident. But when it and the other players are all in the same command center together, there'll be a better and more efficient information-sharing network.

VDOT's costs are estimated at $102.2 million. VDOT's Chantilly, Clifton and Burke road-maintenance headquarters are presently housed at this site. But to make way for the county's new bus facility and VDOT's district office, they'll all be relocated to new, off-site buildings.

So VDOT's also earmarked $8 million for design and construction of the new Clifton area headquarters and access road, near the salt dome, at the Fairfax County Parkway and I-66. It'll pay $7.1 million for the same thing at Murdock Street, off Stonecroft Boulevard, for the new Chantilly area headquarters.

Currently, the Chantilly maintenance crew has to come from West Ox to work in Chantilly. So the relocation will get these workers closer to their target areas, hopefully by mid-2008.

Also planned is a 49,500-square-foot building for county bus administration, maintenance and operations. Currently, Fairfax Connector buses have no bus facility to serve central and western Fairfax County. Operating from this site will enable residents of areas such as Centreville and Penderbrook to get to and from the Vienna Metro station.