North Augusta, SC (WJBF)- The North Augusta Department of Public Safety will finally break ground on its long-awaited new headquarters Friday afternoon.
For at least four years, the city council worked to find the best way to move forward with the new facility, but there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the facility and its location.
Last week, the city council approved a contractor for the project and some people are not happy.
First, it was the location and whether or not to renovate an existing property or start fresh. Then, there was concern about 2 run down historic buildings on the chosen property on Georgia Avenue. Now, many are concerned with the higher than expected cost.
The $25 million facility will house a public safety center, which will include a 9-1-1 dispatch center and a crime lab. It will also a have a full courthouse and offices. There are plans for green space as well.
North Augusta City Councilman, Eric Presnell told NewsChannel 6 that this has been a long time coming. He said the city’s police force deserve better than what they have right now.
“Our public safety building now was built in the 50’s and I mean it’s in deplorable condition. There’s buckets to catch water when it rains. It’s in bad, bad shape. This is highly needed,” he explained.
Considering the original cost of the 30,000 square foot facility was expected to be 12 to 14 million dollars, many are asking why it has nearly doubled.
“I don’t know how it went from 14 million, which was a high number to begin with, to 25 million without an explanation,” said north Augusta resident, Fred Ilardi. “And by the way, they’ve even cut down some of the pretty things that they were going to put in the new building up on Georgia Avenue.”
Presnell said the cost increase is because of supply chain and labor shortage issues and inflation.
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 1 PM today at the property on Georgia Avenue.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.