COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Proposed Sallyport Design for the County Circuit Court Building
Request of the Sheriff and Commonwealth’s Attorney for $113,000 of additional funding to modify the construction of the Circuit Court building sallyport project
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Shadman, Lilley
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
April 4, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
In Fiscal Year 2005/2006, $350,000 was appropriated for the construction of a vehicle sallyport for the County Circuit Court building at the Court Square on East High Street. The justification for this project was to address the Sheriff’s security concerns in the transferring of prisoners from the jail to the court. The current method calls for the prisoners to be off-loaded from the transportation van onto High Street and escorted into the building either through the existing breezeway or into the main door and down the hallway, potentially endangering visitors and working staff within the building and exposing the Sheriff’s personnel to a few moments of having to escort prisoners through the unsecured, open area of a public street. During the design phase for the project, staff and the architect and engineer presented a concept for the sallyport to the Sheriff, which was approved. (Attachment A) The City of Charlottesville’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) also approved the design. Before the advertising for bids occurred, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff suggested a change in design. (Attachment B) This change increased the architecture and engineering costs and postponed the bid due to the necessity of going back to the BAR for approval of the re-design. It was agreed by staff, the Sheriff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney that this addition to the project would be bid as an option. No bids were received on the first advertisement. A re-bid effort realized three bids. The apparent qualified low bid is $285,399 for the construction of the sallyport and $81,928 for the alternative work proposed by the Sheriff and Commonwealth’s Attorney. We currently have a project balance of $289,985, which will cover the base bid with a very small contingency. To complete the revised project as requested by the Sheriff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney, an additional $113,000, including a contingency, would be needed.
County Mission: To enhance the well-being and quality of life for all citizens through the provision of the highest level of public service consistent with the prudent use of public funds.
There are several important issues to consider in determining whether or not to appropriate an additional $113,000 for this project. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s primary justification for the suggested addition to the basic sallyport is to eliminate the view of escorted prisoners walking down the breezeway past the tinted windows of several attorneys and a conference room. It is felt that the view of prisoners walking past these windows would be unsettling to the attorneys and to those in the conference room, particularly victims that are being interviewed. The Sheriff’s justification for the tunnel addition is to have the prisoners completely under cover from the time they exit the van until they enter the building, thus reducing the necessity of posting a guard on the knoll of the yard and protecting the Sheriff’s personnel and prisoners during inclement weather. The basic sallyport, as designed and originally approved, eliminates the initial primary security concern identified by the Sheriff in the fall of 2002, which was to prevent the unloading of prisoners onto the public street in the midst of pedestrian traffic and in an unsecured surrounding.
Another issue to consider in allocating additional money for this project is the long range plan for renovating the interior of the area now occupied by the Sheriff and Commonwealth’s Attorney once the Sheriff’s Department moves into the new J&DR Court facility currently under construction. The CIP has projected funding in Fiscal Year 2010/2011 for renovations that could include moving the attorneys’ offices and conference room away from the view of prisoner traffic.
Staff is also in the process of securing estimates for the replacement of the existing breezeway windows to include small arms grade bullet proof glass with opaque tinting. Not only would this be considerably less expensive than the building of the proposed tunnel, but this funding could be secured from building maintenance money. However, with this option, there may be a disturbance of the natural light that the attorneys now enjoy.
There would be no impact on the budget if the original sallyport project moves forward.
For the tunnel addition requested by the Sheriff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney, an additional allocation of $113,000 would be necessary.
If the tunnel is not added, the concerns of the Commonwealth’s Attorney could be addressed within five years by relocating the office spaces during the renovation design process. In addition, the immediate issue of prisoners walking past the windows could be addressed with window replacement and tinting from maintenance funds.
Staff supports the basic sallyport option to be constructed to eliminate the off-loading of prisoners on a public street and to provide the security originally identified by the Sheriff in 2002. However, staff requests guidance from the Board regarding whether the Sheriff and Commonwealth’s Attorney alternative proposal and additional allocation of $113,000 is the preferred option.
A – Original design
B – Proposed design
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