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FairfaxNew Vienna police HQ gets ever closer to completion

New Vienna police HQ gets ever closer to completion

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It’s last-minute details that always prove vexing.

The Vienna Police Department received a Fairfax County occupancy permit for its new headquarters shortly after the facility’s Sept. 2 ribbon-cutting ceremony, but the $14 million project still has some more work – and expenses – that must be dealt with before officers can move into their new space.

Contractors have been building the new station over the last year and a half on the former station’s site at 215 Center St., S., plus an adjacent residential property purchased by the town.

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“There’s the punch list and a few outstanding items we’re trying to get knocked out before we move in,” Morris said. “Probably the one that’s holding us up the most is getting the security in place. We’re trying to get the swipe-card security all up and running and cameras and everything. That’s kind of a critical path to getting us in the building.”

Department personnel, who temporarily are working from the former Faith Baptist Church building at 301 Center St., S., are busy programming computer servers, which then will allow hardware to be hooked up at the station, he said.

Morris said he still was unsure when the new facility formally would be open for business, but hoped to obtain solid dates soon.

“It’s hard at this point,” he said. “This project really seemed to move along smoothly until the last 1 percent.”

Vienna police officials already have received Town Council approvals for project expenses that were above budgeted estimates. Such extra costs included additional inspections to meet the fire code, extra programming work for the fire panel and further testing of concrete and asphalt – all of which are hard to estimate early in a construction project, the chief said.

“It’s a fairly common situation,” he said.

The Council also OK’d extra funds for project-management firm Downey & Scott LLC, which has been on the job longer than anticipated, Morris said.

Department leaders are collecting contract-change orders featuring increased costs, as well as credits for items that did not cost as much as expected, in order to close out the project all at once.

“If I do have to go to Council, the last thing in the world I want to do is say ‘I need $100,000’ and then go back two weeks later and go, ‘Oh, I meant $120 [thousand]” Morris said. “I want to make sure I have the exact number I need to finish everything out.”

Morris expected the project would “go over budget by a little bit,” possibly between $100,000 and $150,000.

“I don’t think it’s going to be anything ridiculous,” he said.

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