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Richmond County Sheriff's Office begins move into new quarters

Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 4:00 PM
Last updated Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 3:42 AM
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A few boxes are still unpacked and some offices appear in transition, but overall, employees are all smiles after starting to move into the new Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 17.

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Boxes fill the halls as employees of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office begin to settle in to the new building located across the street from the old one.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Boxes fill the halls as employees of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office begin to settle in to the new building located across the street from the old one.

“It’s a motivator,” Chief Deputy Sid Hatfield said as he sat in an office that smelled of fresh paint. “It’s exciting for these men and women. They worked for a long time in that old building under less than normal circumstances.”

The “old building” across the street at 401 Walton Way had been plagued with problems since opening in 1985. Mold, flooding and leaks were common for the employees who rarely got used to working in the building and an unpleasant, wet smell.

Col. Gary Powell said he has heard 99 percent positive comments on the new headquarters.

Construction began in August 2011 by Potts Construction, which also worked on the new courthouse on James Brown Boulevard, and finished the sheriff’s complex ahead of schedule.

In April, project manager Jay McClellan predicted an October move-in date.

A few employees are still going to offices in the old building, but Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he anticipates seeing everyone settled into the new surroundings in the next few days..

The 35,000-square-foot building will house administration, records, the civil division and criminal investigations. The crime scene unit previously working out of an Eighth Street office will also move to the new building.

The Narcotics Division is the only part of the sheriff’s office that will not be housed at 400 Walton Way.

Among the shiny new items is a large Richmond County sheriff’s star, about 5 feet by 5 feet, on the floor of the lobby.

“It says who we are,” Strength said of the decoration.

Problems have been minimal, surprising many who expected a least a few glitches that might be associated with such a large move.

The future of the “old building” is undetermined.

More moves are in the future for the sheriff’s office.

The remaining jail employees now working in the booking area at 401 Walton Way will be moved to the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road after the completion of the new intake area in about 11 months.

The south substation will move from Southgate shopping center on Gordon Highway to a building being renovated on Mike Padgett Highway.

Strength said he hopes to move before November.

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AutumnLeaves 09/21/12 - 04:38 pm
It's about time. Who built

It's about time. Who built the old building?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 08:24 pm
Out of Business

They are long bankrupt, AutumnLeaves. Nothing to recover from them. Russell was too blasé to be bothered to seek any restitution.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 08:26 pm
Old Building

Bianca Johnson says that she doesn't know what is to be done with the old building. I seem to remember when the commission gave the go-ahead to build a new building where the parking lot was - - - that once the sheriff moved in and all the prisoners shifted to Phinizy, the old building was to be demolished and the land turned into a parking lot for the new building. Where is everybody parking now?

thauch12 09/22/12 - 07:56 pm

What a wonderful waste of taxpayer money...

triscuit 09/22/12 - 11:10 pm
no contractor maybe, but

no contractor maybe, but unfortunately the architect is still practicing.

and parking? funny thing about Augusta gov't buildings (new Judicial Center, anyone). Build first, worry about parking after the fact.

augustahistorybuff 09/23/12 - 08:33 am

How can it be "silliness" to place Augusta's hard working deputies and investigators in a facility that is safe for them. A place where they can find some comfort, in, and at times, away from the grueling days and nights they spend away from family and loved ones. Putting their lives on the line protecting Augustans from the criminal element and serving those who need a variety of assistance and legal advice is one of the most admirable occupations out there. These men and women deserve the best that we as taxpayers can offer.

Have you ever worked in a mold infested building with water dripping in buckets? And no, there is no fix to it! Hasn't been in over 20 years! Deputies have ended up having to leave the department because of allergic reactions to the mold. Not including multiple other problems.

If one thinks they can do a better job than the deputies and investigators on the street, then go ahead and ask them to take a week off and "you" take their place. If not, then one shouldn't whine about the use of "taxpayers'" money to support our law enforcement heroes.

Riverman1 09/23/12 - 08:00 pm
Richard Roundtree Law Enforcement Center

I wonder if Roundtree is elected sheriff will this building be named after him one day as the first black sheriff of Richmond County?

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