The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is about to replace its aging substation at Southgate Plaza with a former youth detention center.
Sheriff Ronnie Strength said local officials had eyed the former Augusta Regional Youth Detention Center on Mike Padgett Highway for some time, and when maintenance costs at Southgate continued to rise, requested to use the property for a new southside substation.
The RYDC was among several surplus state properties, including the Georgia Golf & Gardens tract and former Talking Book Center, conveyed to Augusta-Richmond earlier this year in Georgia House Resolution 1376.
Members of Augusta’s Public Safety Committee approved a resolution Tuesday to let the sheriff’s department use the surplus 7.4-acre tract, located next to the current RYDC in the 3000 block of Mike Padgett Highway, for a substation.
“I’d rather have something that is going to be around another 50 years than to put a $50,000 roof on (Southgate) and constantly have drainage issues,” said Commissioner Joe Jackson, the chairman of the public safety committee.
While the rent is affordable at Southgate, the roof is starting to leak and the parking lot sometimes floods during heavy rains, Jackson said.
Neither Jackson nor Strength thought relocating the substation further south would have a negative impact on crime around Southgate, as the substations are primarily used, like the north substation at Daniel Village Shopping Center, for administrative purposes between deputy patrol shifts.
The office expects to complete about $250,000 in renovations using some in-house and inmate labor and be in the new substation by year’s end, Strength said. The sheriff is retiring at the end of the year.
“It’s definitely going to help us because it’s going to put us in a better facility, at no expense to taxpayers,” he said. “That building is a very secure building, and it will be there a while.”