Mount Vernon As Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck stood and helped cut the ribbon on
the new Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters, he looked at the advantage of putting several agencies under one roof to improve efficiency. It was done in the Mount Vernon District at the South County Government Center a few years ago, just as it was being done now with the fire and police headquarters at the Fairfax County Government Center some 25 miles away.
“Human services, recreation and housing are together at the South County Center, having them combined provides better collaboration, and a safe and secure environment,” Storck said. He was in the group of county supervisors cutting the ribbon on the new $142 million Public Safety Headquarters on Oct. 26.
“It makes absolute sense to have both departments together,” said Sharon Bulova, the Fairfax County chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “It’s a much, much improved work environment,” she added.
Bulova was on ribbon cutting duty with the other district supervisors, Fairfax
County Fire Chief Richard R. Bowers, Police Chief Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr., past chairman Kate Hanley and James Patteson, the county director of Public Works and Environmental Services. The new building is LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified at the silver level, and is an improvement over the Massey Building, as many in the group reminded the crowd.
“The Massey Building, in the City of Fairfax, needed to come down, it’s time has passed,” said Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield).
“We had to get it done before the Massey building collapsed,” joked Supervisor John C. Cook (R-Braddock).
“The Massey Building once had it’s heyday,” added Bulova.
It will be the third headquarters for David M. Rohrer, the deputy county executive who’s been with the county for 37 years. “It has been worth the wait,” he said.
The Massey Building was built in 1970, when asbestos was a common fireproof building material used, and it had outdated electrical and cooling systems that were hard to repair, according to the Fairfax County website.
The new nine-story building is dominated by glass and green features such as low-flow plumbing, permeable paving, rainwater harvesting equipment and LED (light emitting diode) lighting throughout. The architect that designed it was HOK, Inc. and the builder was Manhattan Construction. The building was “below budget and almost on time,” said Patteson.
Out front, there are memorials to commemorate the fallen police officers and firefighters who died on the job through the years. They were put in front because “we want everyone to pass by and see the sacrifice,” said Bowers. In years past, there was a softball field on the spot where the new building is, noted Bowers, but the new office “really is a field of dreams,” he said.
Features of the new Public Safety Headquarters:
- Nine stories tall
- 274,000 square feet of space
- 850-space parking structure
- Green roofs
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures
- Eco-smart environmental controls
- Permeable pavement
- Rainwater harvesting
- Maximized daylight into work spaces
There is also a tree out front that they managed to hold on to, despite the cranes and equipment coming and going through the two-year project. “We saved the tree as we promised,” said Patteson.
With a new building, advanced technology and two public safety departments co-located for further efficiency, will the residents of the county feel safer? “The protection is always there no matter what building they’re in,” said Ellen Rohrer, who was at the ceremony.
The new Public Safety Headquarters is next to the Herrity Building, named after Herrity’s father John Herrity who was a past chairman, he pointed out with a smile.