After six months of self-performed construction, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for the grand opening of their new officer training facility.
The 4,000-square-foot facility that sits alongside the county jail, 2526 New Calhoun Highway, was funded by a combination of 2013 and 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax funds.
It is the first of two SPLOST funded constructions projects for the jail. Phase II construction will involve renovating the medical facility and creating a mental health unit in the jail.
SPLOST 2017 has over $5 million set for the Phase II budget, which will be overseen by Carroll Daniel Construction.
The medical facility is set to be finished by December and the mental health unit is set to be finished in December 2021, according to FCSO Maj. Bob Sapp.
When originally calculating the cost of the training facility, Sapp and county employees realized that it would cost around $1.5 million, more than the set budget.
Using county resources and inmate work crews, the county was able to self-perform the construction and save $1 million, according to Sapp.
Some parts of the construction project were overseen by a construction company, such as the implementation of the steel structure.
The new facility includes a large classroom, gym, offices, rest rooms and showers. With the computer system they have set up at the new facility, jail administrators can control the jail operations from the training center, in case of an emergency.
“If for some reason we have to lock down that facility, we can operate everything in here,” Sapp said.
The center also has biometric access, which scans the thumbprint of the officer to unlock the door.
“We know everyone that comes in and everyone that goes out,” Sapp said.
Also, the new facility will be named after one of their own — it will be called the Kristen Hearne Memorial Training Center.
Prior to Hearne becoming a detective with the Polk County Police Department she was a beloved member of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office.
“Kristen worked here for a number of years, she worked with me, she worked at the courthouse ... so we all knew Kristen,” Sapp said.
In September of 2017, Hearne was shot to death in the line of duty. The man accused of killing her is still awaiting trial in Polk County.
The sheriff’s office chose to honor her with naming the new facility after her and plan to put up a picture of her by the entrance of the center.
Chief Deputy Tommy McGuire’s grandson, Kaden King, is also doing an Eagle Scout project for the new facility.
“They’re going to put seating out here for folks to sit outside,” Sapp said.
The jail administrator also said that they’ll be putting a memorial garden by the entrance of the facility in honor of all Floyd County Sheriff’s Office deputies that have put their lives on the line.
The project’s partnership included county manager Jamie McCord, Michael Skeen and Eric Sexton from Public Works, Floyd County Prison Warden Michael Long and county commissioners.
“We all worked together to make this happen,” Sapp said.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the training center will be on March 26 at 2 p.m.