A new 48,000-square-foot public safety building under construction in Currituck County will become part of a rapidly growing complex in the rural community.
The $23.4 million facility will house the sheriff’s office, fire and emergency management officials, emergency medical services, the 911 center, state forest rangers, state and federal law agents and classes for College of The Albemarle students in those fields. The agencies are currently spread over five different buildings.
“This is truly going to be a remarkable building,” said Currituck County commissioner Paul Beaumont at a groundbreaking held Thursday.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2021. The project could be the only one of its kind in North Carolina.
A single building housing all local emergency agencies is rare if not unique in the state, said Keith Acree, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, said he is not aware of another one like it.
The building will accommodate a new emergency operations center where officials gather for consecutive days and nights to oversee events such as hurricane evacuations. The group now meets in the aging county building close to the Currituck Sound.
Offices will be available where agents from the State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI can work. The agencies often team up on serious crimes.
The proximity will work more efficiently than phone or online meetings, Beaumont said.
“There’s nothing better than having everybody in the same room,” he said.
Most of building’s cost will be paid with a loan and repaid from transfer and sales taxes, said county spokesman Randall Edwards. The college contributed $1 million.
A $583,655 grant from the North Carolina 911 Board will contribute toward purchase of equipment in the communications office, he said.
The new facility is part of a long range plan to develop the Maple and Barco area on 700 county-owned acres to include government buildings and an industrial park.
Currituck officials hope the area will attract construction of restaurants, stores and possibly motels in the surrounding farm fields. The state announced two years ago it would widen to four lanes the busy stretch of U.S. 158 known as Shortcut Road that runs by the property.
An airport was already located there. A large new cooperative extension center went up just over a decade ago. Built on the property in the last 10 years is a YMCA/senior center, an animal shelter, an expansive public park and a 36,000-square-foot aviation training center operated by College of The Albemarle. The center sits next to where the new public safety building will be.
BEI Maritime announced last year construction of a $25 million center with an indoor pool large enough for a small ship. The facility would serve to train such groups as special forces and offshore wind turbine crews. The site will have an 80-room hotel and an 80-seat dining center and is expected to attract 6,000 trainees the first year it opens.
The company expects to break ground later this year, Beaumont said.
Jeff Hampton, 252-491-5272, firstname.lastname@example.org