Danville is just months away from getting a new police headquarters.
The $17 million project at the former Dan River Inc. executive office building off Memorial Drive is moving along as scheduled and is expected to be complete in March.
“The plan is to move into the building in March,” said Danville Police Department Deputy Chief Dean Hairston.
So far, land behind the existing building has been cleared of trees and foundation is being poured for the addition of a new adjacent structure, Hairston said.
The main building, which is being revamped for the project, has been gutted and a new roof has been installed.
The police station project is a combination of construction of a new building and historic restoration of that original Dan River building, which the city then will lease.
The add-on building will be about 15,000 square feet. There will be a connector from both floors of the existing building to the newly built structure.
The addition will include a basketball court and locker rooms for officers.
Blair Construction is the contractor for the project.
Workers are finishing up the heating and air-conditioning system and most of the plumbing has been completed, Hairston said. The windows have also been replaced.
As for exterior work, a new driveway — named Community Way — is being cut into the property. The address will be 1 Community Way, Hairston said.
“They are working diligently,” Police Chief Scott Booth said of the workers building the new headquarters. “We’re certainly excited about the project.”
Before work began on the headquarters, the main Dan River Inc. building had what appeared to be 1970s-era interior, with beige and tan walls and faded and stained carpet. Scuffed and scraped dark-brown hardwood floors could also be seen.
A new community room, about the size of half a gymnasium, is also planned for the project. It will be used for events, focus groups, working with youth and helping formerly incarcerated people return to the community as productive citizens.
Police officials expect the new headquarters to be more secure than the existing police location in the Municipal Building facing Court Street downtown.
Also, a courtyard where an outdoor community space will be located, will be used for public engagement.
“We think it’s [the new headquarters] going to be a great facility not just for the police officers, but for the community,” Booth said Friday.
As for what remains to be done, new machines for employees to clock in still need to be installed, as well as atomic clocks — satellite-based clocks for the most accurate time available, Hairston said.
Wireless access points, fiber, monitors, computer equipment and new doors must be added, as well, Hairston said.
“It’s a considerable amount to be done,” he said. But, “we’re getting to the point now where things should start to speed up.”
Earl Reynolds, Danville’s deputy city manager, said of the project’s pace, “I’m pleased, [City Manager] Ken Larking is pleased, City Council is pleased that the project is on track and on time. It’s a very much-needed capital improvement for the police department.”
An overall space-needs assessment conducted for the city in 2016 found the Danville Police Department needed an extra 25,302 square feet of space. The department occupies about 13,482 square feet at the Municipal Building, Green Street, Third Avenue and beneath the Ruby B. Archie Public Library.
A second study, in 2018, found the department needs nearly 48,000 square feet to accommodate its 131 sworn personnel and 17 civilian staff. It also listed the Memorial Drive site as a recommended new location. The new location will add about 35,000 square feet toward that goal.