Loudoun's Board of Supervisors voted last night to increase the budget allotted for a long-planned public safety firing range from the original $14.3 million to up to $19.3 million.
The firing range is the largest public safety project in the county's capital improvement budget and its expected delivery date is summer 2017, according to a county report.
It will be located on Shreve Mill Road just west of the Dulles Greenway.
In 2011 the Board of Supervisors decided a county-owned firing range would be built in lieu of the original plan to build a more than $40 million facility and share the cost with other jurisdictions including the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy.
Since the project would no longer be a collaboration, the facility needed to be redesigned. At that time the county determined an indoor facility would be safer and less intrusive.
Most of the additional funding needed is for the design phase and re-planning of the facility.
For comparison, the Ashburn Sheriff's Station is expected to cost the county a little more than $9 million, and the next most expensive project is the E911 Center and General Office, which will cost $12 million.
Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) was supportive of the measure, reasoning that there's no real way to scale the project back if the county hopes to provide the safety measures needed for those who will be using the facility.
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said he has made trips to the current facility. "Our current outdoor facilities is completely inadequate ... " he said. "The cost estimate of $14.3 million was based on that outdoor shared facility, and that was our portion of it."
Some of the design issues deal with safety and training standards that are mandated by previous court decisions for training sheriff's deputies.
"I feel we'll be in an awkward and maybe even precarious legal position if we don't go forward and approve this," Buona said.
Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) was also supportive of the measure citing the state of the current outdoor facility.
"Our first responders are a core function of government. I would not want us to be in a situation even putting one person's life in jeopardy because they were not in a position to have the proper training they need to prepare them for what they may meet on the street," said Volpe. "It would be a dereliction of duty for us to not let them have the training that they need."
Supervisors Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) opposed the action.
"I haven't voted for a firing range in the 15 years," said Delgaudio, noting he would have liked to see the project privatized.
"I am not going to support this at this time because this additional spending and requirements were not vetted before to my knowledge," said Ken Reid.