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12:45 PM Fri, Oct. 19th

County to build new offices for sheriff

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 Monday to build a new facility for the sheriff's office at the former armory in Kingman.

Supervisors Chairman Pete Byers and District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell voted for the new building.

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson cast the opposing vote.

Sharon Schmitz of HDR Associates, has estimated the new facility could be ready for occupancy within 18 to 24 months.

HDR, a Dallas firm, was originally selected to study, design and act as architect for the Mohave County government complex because of its extensive experience building law and justice facilities.

"I see the decision (to build the sheriff's facility) as good," Byers said.

"We can fix that situation now.

Then we will go forward and fix other things in the county."

Sockwell made the motion to go forward with the armory site after input from the public and Sheriff Tom Sheahan.

"We have just made a decision to locate the county facilities in downtown Kingman," Johnson said.

"The previous board decided on a campus style facility and I disagree with pulling one piece at a time out of that plan."

Sockwell said a decision on the location of other facilities would have to wait until he has more time to analyze the costs and other factors.

"I just walked in off the street into this job and I need more time," he said.

Consideration of the merits of the proposed Golden Valley and downtown Kingman sites for the remainder of the county complex was postponed until the board meets in February.

Johnson said the armory site on Beale Street is valuable property that could earn more money from private investment and sales tax revenue.

"The 700 county employees in Kingman have not done much ..." he said.

"Kingman is not growing."

Support for the sheriff's building on West Beale came from Kingman Mayor Les Byram.

"That (a new facility for the sheriff) is the greatest need for new county facilities," he said.

"There is plenty of space, room for a helicopter pad and the facility could be occupied in 18 to 24 months.

You ought to pencil in the site for the future jail needs."

The sheriff's office is currently housed in the old hospital building on Beale Street in downtown Kingman.

Much of the crumbling building is condemned.

"The building is a disgrace," Sheahan said.

"The armory is the best site with access to the interstate and to Route 66.

There is room for a future jail and a helicopter pad."

He said moving the sheriff's building would decrease the cost of the county complex at the downtown Kingman site by reducing parking needs and eliminating a parking garage in the first phase of construction.

No plans have been drawn, but Chief Deputy Jim McCabe estimated the building at about 25,000 square feet with administration offices on a second floor.

Costs would range from $5 million to $6 million depending on the placement of the medical examiner and morgue at the site.

"It would give us a more efficient crime lab and make it easier to investigate death by suicide or homicide," Sheahan said.

"It would give the department a safe environment for the chemicals and biohazards that are part of the medical examiner's operation."

Sheahan will look at some newer facilities in other places and work with HDR Associates to design an open building that will enhance customer contact in the new headquarters.

Interim County Manager Dick Skalicky said enough money has been collected from the facility sales tax to pay for the building.

Sheahan said site work done for another proposed building at the Beale Street location would speed the construction process.

The former armory is now the county jail annex.