The Alexandria Police Department officially pulled back the curtain on its new headquarters Wednesday morning during a ceremony at the $81 million building located at 3600 Wheeler Avenue.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille called the bold new structure “an iconic building” along the lines of and the George Washington Masonic Memorial.
The 124,000-square foot, four-story building will house 441 police employees and 55 workers of the city’s Department of Emergency Communications, a new office established this year that consolidates the emergency communications functions of the police and the fire departments.
“This modern, world-class facility reflects the efforts of many people,” Acting City Manager Bruce Johnson said, adding that he was the third city manager to plan and oversee the project.
Johnson said momentum to construct the facility was slowed when the city opted to build a new in 2004. Ultimately, Johnson said, the new facility proved to be “the most cost-effective” way to meet public safety needs in the city.
The lower level of the LEED-certified building, which , is home to the department’s Patrol Operations Bureau. This office includes interview rooms, report writing areas, lockers and showers.
The first floor opens into a large atrium and contains a reception area, finger printing office and a records section.
In response to community needs, the first floor also houses public meeting space for citizen groups and other organizations.
The second level contains four crime laboratories for the Crime Scene Investigations section, while the third floor houses the DEC’s new facility and administrative offices for the police department.
An adjacent parking garage can house 500 vehicles and is just a stone's throw from the city's maintenance garage.
Police Chief Earl Cook and other current and past members of the department spoke of how important it is to have the entire force under one roof—something that hasn’t really happened since the days APD was working out of its office at 400 N. Pitt Street years ago. Cook spoke of that office looking like something out of a movie set. Others spoke of working out of the Public Safety Center on Mill Road and, for a time, out of a shuttered autoshop at the Hecht’s Department Store at Landmark Mall.
“This is something every citizen of Alexandria should be proud of,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th), a former Alexandria mayor.
Before unveiling the shield in front of the new building, Cook radioed in the opening of the headquarters over the police system.
HDR Inc. served as the architect for the new facility. Whiting-Turner was the general contractor.