The Lorton area saw another significant opening on Oct. 28. Government officials, police, animal shelter employees, volunteers, and residents celebrated the new South County Police and Animal Shelter. Sited on Lorton Road on land once included in the Lorton Workhouse and Prison property, in history, inmates toiled and farm animals grazed there. Now the site is home to modern police force and animal care operations.
Serving as emcee for the opening event, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck called it “ironic” that the new building with all its modern services stood on former prison grounds, across from the 1950s era Nike missile base, and near the 1980s landfill, now closed and slated to become a new park in 2025, “with roots that are unique.” Storck noted the hundreds of millions of dollars Fairfax County has invested in updating the Lorton area, now blossoming into a “true community that has value and is respected.” He and other speakers commended the service and vision of former District Supervisor Gerald “Gerry” Hyland (Mount Vernon Supervisor 1988-2015) who was on hand for the opening and championed improvements for the area. Storck’s other acknowledgements included a long list of county employees, community activists and organizations.
The well landscaped building includes the approximately 30,000-square-foot police station, and the 23,000-square-foot animal shelter and adoption center. Its arched covered front walkways and gabled end walls compliment the nearby Workhouse. The site also includes 20,000-square-feet of outdoor space, with dog kennel runs and fenced walking areas, electric vehicle charging and traditional fueling stations, and parking. The space includes a satellite office for the District Supervisor and public community rooms. It was designed to meet LEED Silver Certification standards for environmental sustainability, including stormwater handling, tree preservation, infrastructure for solar panels, and energy efficient systems and materials that promote indoor air quality.
Presence at the site means the police department eventually can organize smaller patrol areas to decrease response times to calls, which Board of Supervisors Chairman, Jeff McKay pointed out, benefits the whole county. Police chief Kevin Davis, also speaking at the opening, commented that the addition of the new police station means a lot of things; one being that officers want to be part of this new well equipped police force. McKay noted that two weeks ago, the police academy graduated its largest class of recruits; and one of the most culturally diverse, fluent in multiple languages, and including 30 percent women. Additional staffing is expected to allow the police force to soon return to use of three shifts, instead of the current two shifts.
This second county animal shelter and adoption center “campus” for improves access to critical animal services, such as behavior and training support, pet wellness services, and pet supplies. Director of animal services, Reasa Currier, noted the importance of “valued animals and the important relationship they have in our lives.” She described the building’s ability to bring health and happiness to animals under their temporary care, designed to provide sunlight, noise abatement in separate sections for dogs, cats, and small mammals, and create an environment more like a home. The space, which includes extensive veterinary care and surgical areas, will allow for expansion of pet care services to families facing financial hardship.
Not everyone who toured the facility on this first day of operation went home alone. On its first day of adoptions, two dogs and 12 cats were adopted into new homes.
The new facility is located at 8855 and 8875 Lorton Road, Lorton. Learn more about the new animal shelter campus operations and services at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/lorton-campus-operational-guidance.
Photos by Susan Laume/The Connection
Girl Scout Troop 52053 leads the Pledge of Allegiance
Claire Craig, Officer with the Honor Guard sings the National Anthem
Spectacular low fly over by Fairfax One helicopter wows crowd and leads Chief to comment on his relief that the building has no steeple
Chief Kevin Davis tours the new station with Commander Richard Morvillo
Director Reasa Currier says, “Pets are family and all deserve the love and companionship that pets provide.”
A staffed public window allows citizens to bring questions and requests for assistance to police.
Officer Mark Bettis, McLean, stands in the station’s Forensics Lab
The facility includes an equipped work-out area, where deputy chiefs Brooke Wright and Brian Reilly compare weight lifting techniques
Small lunch and break areas provide ease on the ground floor, with one of many televisions located throughout the space, which Chief Davis indicates allows officers to keep abreast of news events
The animal shelter business lobby mirrors a second staffed lobby for adoptions
The cat room area, with adjacent visit rooms which double as play areas, allow cats to be seen, and provide a more private area
The facility includes a large, well equipped veterinary care unit, including this space for conducting low cost spay/neuter procedures