Supply chain issues, rain delays and other challenges pushed back the Danville Police Department’s move to its new headquarters by a few months.
At first, the main building was to be completed, and the force moved there in March. The department now tentatively expects to be in Dan River Inc.’s renovated former executive building near Memorial Drive by July 1.
“They [the contractor] I hadn’t anticipated what COVID would do to the supply chain,” Danville Police Department Deputy Chief Dean Hairston said.
The department hopes to have a certificate of occupancy this month, he said.
“We will be moving into the main building,” he said. “They will have it finished soon after.”
Although officials hoped the department would be moved about three months ago, the construction contract does not require the project to be completed until August.
Blair Construction is the contractor for the $17 million project. Company president Tim Clark hoped to complete it by April.
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“We had issues with delivery and material,” Clark said. “It was a little longer than we wanted it to be.”
Obtaining steel and door hardware has been difficult, he added.
“You always have high hopes of getting a project out early,” Clark said, adding there are no additional costs to the city.
The police department took the opportunity to add some features to the building that weren’t in the original plans, including a backup dispatch center where capacity can be increased if the center is overwhelmed with calls, Hairston said. .
The rescue center could also be used to focus on disaster situations, in addition to officers at those scenes, he said.
In addition, the center will be a “real-time crime center” where the department can monitor events and sites where closed-circuit cameras are installed, Hairston said.
“The system has artificial intelligence and can be programmed to look at behavior patterns, it can identify the way someone walks, it can recognize weapons, it has facial recognition,” Hairston said during a visit. of the establishment this week.
It can also record locations and situations and read license plates. The rescue center will be set up when the department moves into the building or later, he said.
With respect to the closed circuit camera system, the department began implementing the system about five years ago and continues to install cameras. About $75,000 is budgeted for the system per year, Hairston said.
Cameras are installed throughout the city, in areas including North Main Street, the River District and Sovah Health-Danville, he said.
To avoid further delaying the project, the department will move its switch system — which allows the force’s computer system to access its network — from its current downtown location to the new headquarters, Hairston said.
It would have taken a year to get a new switch, Hairston said, and about $12,000 will be saved by bringing his current one.
New flooring and ballistic glass in the lobby have been installed. Sleek new rugs, tables, gun boxes, lockers, and other items can also be seen inside the updated building.
Weights have already been introduced in the new gym, allowing members of the force to train at headquarters instead of having to travel to a separate department gym, Hairston said.
The new headquarters will not only take the department out of a small, outdated location, but it will also provide a boost in other ways.
“We believe this will be a game changer for recruitment, retention and morale,” Hairston said.
Due to historic tax credits for the project, the building facade must retain its original character.
The new headquarters contains a maze of hallways, offices, and rooms, including eight interrogation rooms, five evidence rooms, and new evidence lockers.
The work involved clearing trees behind the existing building and constructing a new adjacent structure connected to the old executive building. The windows have also been replaced.
The police station project is a combination of construction of a new building and historic restoration of the original Dan River building, which the city will then lease. The add-on building is approximately 15,000 square feet and includes a connector – or hyphen – of the two floors of the existing building to the newly constructed structure.
The addition will include locker rooms for officers, with the other two-thirds of the building to be a multi-purpose room for community events, police academy graduations, large meetings and other purposes.
The redeveloped main building will house the various ministry offices, operational space, police records, patrol and investigations. Additionally, there will be over 100 additional parking spaces at the property.
A new driveway – named Community Way – has been cut into the property and will eventually connect Bishop Avenue and Memorial Drive. The address will be 1 Community Way.
The entrance to the headquarters will be on Bishop Avenue and Community Way, while the Memorial Drive end of the new driveway will be the exit.
Additionally, a third building with three bays will be along Community Way and used to provide service work for police vehicles, including electronic repairs to vehicle technology such as lights, radios and other items.
Before work began on the corporate headquarters, Dan River Inc.’s main building had what appeared to be a 1970s interior, with tan and tan walls and faded, stained carpeting. You could also see scuffed and scraped dark brown hardwood floors.
Police officials expect the new headquarters to be safer than the current police location in the municipal building facing downtown Court Street.
In addition, a courtyard where an outdoor community space will be located will be used for public engagement.
A comprehensive space needs assessment conducted for the city in 2016 found that the Danville Police Department needed an additional 25,302 square feet. The department occupies approximately 13,482 square feet in the Municipal Building, Green Street, Third Avenue, and under the Ruby B. Archie Public Library.
A second study, in 2018, found the department needed nearly 48,000 square feet to accommodate its 131 sworn staff and 17 civilian staff. The new location will add approximately 35,000 square feet to that goal.
The inauguration of the new headquarters is scheduled for August 19.