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New Vienna police station could open to public in September

The Vienna Police Department’s new headquarters is in the final stages of construction (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Workers are putting the finishing touches on Vienna’s new police station, which will consolidate all police operations under one roof and provide new community spaces.

After some disruptions earlier this year due to supply chain issues, the $14 million facility is scheduled to finish punch-list items and get a final Fairfax County inspection next week, according to an Aug. 12 update from the Town of Vienna Police Department.

If all of that goes according to plan, the building at 215 Center Street South will open to the public with an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting on Sept. 2, Police Chief Jim Morris told Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton on the most recent “On Deck with Mercury” installment.

“That’s a flexible date, but that’s the date we’re shooting for,” Morris said. “…The idea is to have the ribbon-cutting at 11 with yourself, the mayor, and other local dignitaries, and then open the building up for tours.”

Under construction since January 2021, the new station replaces a 9,800-square-foot building from 1994 with a 30,000-square-foot site that will house offices, training facilities, a firing range, locker rooms, evidence storage, and a multi-purpose room.

At 1,500 square feet in size, the multi-purpose room will serve as a local emergency operations center, a meeting area for the Vienna Town Council, and a hub for community gatherings and programs. A central divider will separate the meeting space from work stations for the emergency center.

Morris said the logistics for how community groups will be able to reserve space are still being finalized.

“We do have the community center and everything, so we have to even things up and make sure everything’s spread out, because I would love to have the community in this space as often as possible,” he said.

The push to integrate the station into the community extends to a new outdoor plaza. The old station had a plaza, but Morris admits it became overgrown, and he never witnessed anyone using it in his nine years with the department.

“We wanted to put a space in front that could change all that, and as you walk outside or walk around, you can see it’s a viable plaza,” Morris said. “There’s seating, there’s plants, there’s good sunlight, it’s open space. I think we’ll see a lot of folks using that plaza.”

There’s no official date yet for when the police department will move from its temporary base at the former Faith Baptist Church next door, but it won’t be until after the public opening. The transition should be “seamless” with no service interruptions, Morris told Mercury.

The police chief anticipates that the additional space and upgraded infrastructure will help recruit new officers and retain existing ones, as law enforcement agencies locally and nationally struggle to attract workers.

“With this building, with body cameras, with new radios, with new in-car video, we’re definitely going to be at the upper-end of policing in the area, so we should be a prime choice for people looking for a career in law enforcement,” Morris said.