NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – After years of planning, and having an old building with many issues, the North Augusta Department of Public Safety is finally getting an updated building it so desperately needs. 

“Our city is growing, our future is bright, and we need to have a facility for our public safety to continue to do what they do, which is protect our citizens and improve our quality of life,” said North Augusta Mayor Briton Williams.

The current building was built in the 1950s – it has mold, leaks, and outdated technology. Asbestos also had to be removed from the old courtroom, so it’s no longer being used. 

“It’s just dank, it’s dark, it’s just not the kind of building that we want to have for our public safety,” Williams said.

The new headquarters on Georgia Avenue will have a full courtroom, more storage, a crime lab, a 911 dispatch center and more.

“It’s just right where we need to be,” said Chief John Thomas, the Director of North Augusta Public Safety. “So it’s a focal point for people to see us and say ‘hey, we feel safe here’ and that’s what it’s all about.”

The $25 million budget for the building is significantly more than originally estimated, mainly due to increasing labor costs and inflation. 

That’s a cause for concern for some that live here. 

“I would like to see a financial report,” said Fred Ilardi. “There is no reason in the world that I would have to do a FOIA request to get information. This is public information and the city should be free-willing with their information and it hasn’t been today.”

But North Augusta leaders assure us that funding for the building will not raise property taxes.

“This is being handled through our capital sales tax,” Mayor Williams said. “Those pennies have already been put into that. So we’re having to move through other areas for that, but the point is we are not raising millage because of this, it has nothing to do with this. It’s money that’s already been paid in.”

The roughly 38,000 square foot building is expected to be completed by Christmas of 2025.