All News & Blogs
King George County got an 'exceptional deal' on its new Sheriff's Office, but the project has been plagued by construction delays
The new King George County Sheriff's Office is nearing completion and is now expected to open on July 1.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
By CATHY DYSON
Since last spring, King George County Sheriff Steve Dempsey has heard one date after another as to when his department will move into the new three-story brick building off State Route 3.
"April, August, November, January and now July 1," Dempsey said, rattling off completion dates mentioned in the last 14 months. "We'll be there eventually, and I think 'eventually' is finally in sight."
When bids on the project were opened in March 2009, county officials hoped the building might be finished as early as November 2010.
As construction languished, members of the Board of Supervisors periodically asked for an explanation.
"Why is it taking so long?" Supervisor Joe Grzeika wondered on Nov. 1, 2011. "He [the contractor] can't say it was the weather."
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry responded: "He had some weather delays [the previous winter], but he just is not finishing the project on time."
The current plan is for the 52 employees of the Sheriff's Office to move in by July 1. The new center, which cost $7.5 million, will have two floors of office space and training rooms, areas for communications, prisoner detention and evidence-gathering and a basement.
A $500-A-DAY FINE?
The delays in moving detectives, deputies and dispatchers from cramped quarters in their current office to the bigger, more open space of the new center have been frustrating, said Board of Supervisors Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr.
Residents in his district, who drive by the new building in the county's Government Complex, have asked Brooks the same question that Grzeika had: "Why is it taking so long to get done?"
County officials haven't given many answers, except to say it was a problem with the contractor, Southwood Builders of Ashland.
No one will elaborate because the matter was discussed in closed session.
Southwood's president, Tom Evans, said this week that, "There are always problems on projects, but they've all been worked through, as far as we're concerned."
He added: "There are no issues with us and the county."
That doesn't appear to be the county's view. Supervisors met in closed session May 15 to discuss imposing a $500-a-day late fee as specified in the contract, County Administrator Quesenberry said.
The board also got legal advice from County Attorney Matt Britton, Quesenberry said.