Aiken City Council members, Public Safety leadership tour new headquarters
The $10.8 million project to establish a new Aiken Department of Public Safety headquarters is on budget, on schedule and is slated for “substantial completion” by the end of the calendar year, Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said Monday.
Public Safety will move into the new building – located along Beaufort Street and Wire Road, directly across from the Paces Run apartment complex – in the first quarter of 2019, and a ribbon cutting for the facility is loosely scheduled for April 2019, the city manager continued.
Several members of the Aiken City Council and Public Safety leadership, including Public Safety Chief Charles Barranco, toured the new headquarters early Monday morning.
“I think everybody will be impressed with the progress,” Bedenbaugh said.
The tour group snaked through the massive – 46,700 square-feet – facility for more than an hour, making occasional stops in under-construction areas such as the day room, bunks, multi-use courtroom, glass-fronted lobby, division wings and dispatch center.
Project manager Mark Chostner led the group.
Upon completion, the new headquarters, home to both police and fire departments, will have four fire station bays, a high-tech emergency operations center, updated interview rooms and 250 percent more space for evidence storage.
The evidence area also has a separate room specifically for drugs. Ventilation, Barranco said, is vital and healthily available in that area.
The Beaufort Street facility sits on about 11 acres and affords the headquarters 236 parking spaces, an increase of 164 as compared to the Public Safety hub along Laurens Street.
Extra office space has already been constructed in the building, allowing for department growth.
“We’re building for growth because growth is going to happen,” Chostner said, later adding there is “future space for people, future space for power.”
The project manager at several points said the new headquarters – its upgrades, its input-based construction and its cohesive layout, for example – will help attract and retain Public Safety employees.
Barranco, at the end of the tour, expressed his excitement and said it’s been “neat” to see the idea come off the paper and into the real world, become “3D,” as he put it.
“We want our folks to be proud of it, we want our community to be proud of it,” the chief said.