New Public Safety Headquarters to Be Built
July 25, 2011
After spending years in a building with leaking pipes, broken air condition and asbestos, the county’s police officers and firefighters will get a new headquarters. The new HQ, which will replace the 44-year old Massey Building, will rise up next to the Herrity Building where the baseball field is today.
The new headquarters is the building shown at the far left, along with the new garage in front of the HQ.
(Click for High-Res Version)
The building also will be green. It’s environmentally friendly features may include water and energy efficient fixtures and equipment and a green roof. The building will be designed to maximize the natural light that reaches the interior, which helps reduce energy use. Because the building is just starting to be designed, it’s unclear what green elements will be included, but it is planned for LEED Silver certification, per the county’s green building policy. The new HQ will be the county’s 11th green building.
It will be built to meet the fire and police departments’ needs in 2030. This means the building will accommodate up to 700 employees compared to the approximately 463 in the Massey Building. The new HQ also includes 850 secured parking spaces.
Besides additional space, the building will help strengthen the close working relationship between the two departments.
"The Police and Fire and Rescue Departments enjoy a unique partnership, one that enhances the public safety of Fairfax County,” said Police Chief Dave Rohrer. “One of the most exciting prospects about this planned new facility is the County’s commitment to design and build a truly joint police and fire headquarters with the adequate space and facilities to improve and expand our opportunities to work collaboratively on public safety issues.”
For example, the building will have shared space for medical facilities, gym and interview rooms.
The building will serve more than just public safety, however. The Department of Information Technology will move the county’s primary data center into the new HQ. The center will be a separate facility but connected to the headquarters.
The decision to construct a new headquarters was made carefully, especially as the county continues to face constrained budgets.
As an alternative, top county leaders considered renovating the Massey Building. However, this option didn’t make financial sense.
Preliminary estimates for rehabbing Massey amounted to at least $87 million. This compares to $149 million for the new HQ. And, a renovated Massey Building still wouldn’t give police and fire the space they needed for future growth.
“The Massey Building has served the county well for almost 44 years, however, with ongoing failures of the core building mechanical systems and overall infrastructure, along with the ever presence of asbestos, it is no longer a safe and dependable work environment for our dedicated employees,” said Fire Chief Ronald Mastin. “It has outlived its useful purpose.”
The problems with Massey are numerous. It is sheathed in asbestos, which was a standard fireproofing material used in the 1960s. The asbestos also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to make repairs. The building’s electrical system is overloaded, and the heating and cooling system is so old that replacement parts often can’t be found.
For the next four years, however, Massey will continue to be home to police and fire staff. The new building won’t ready until 2015, and after staff move in, the Massey Building which will be torn down.