Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

New Public Safety building brings departments out of the dark ages

The old Butternut Street jail/sheriff’s office in the Village of Lyons is now a cramped County museum. It is hard to believe the County police force operated out of the large house from 1856 to 1960.

As the County grew, so did the need for room for the Sheriff’s office and burgeoning force. In 1960, the Sheriff moved to part of what now is the County Jail. By 1970 the office occupied what used to be the Intensive Care Facility (ICF) of the Wayne County Nursing Home.

Back then, it made use of the space provided in the 1930s era building. Located in various parts of the old ICF building, it was obvious the building and use never matched up. As more years passed, building wear and tear provided leaks, exposure to asbestos-laden walls ceilings and floors, and an unfriendly work space for all concerned.

Years ago, the Sheriff’s Records Office was forced to move into an adjacent trailer. The road deputies occupied a small office on a lower level and the detectives’ unit was in very cramped quarters, sharing desks that butted up to one another. When it came to interviewing a subject, privacy became difficult, one detective often would have to leave the room.

Sharing the worn ICF building were the Emergency Management and Fire Coordinator’s offices as well. All in all, the County Board of Supervisors knew the space problems had to be dealt with.
When the new Wayne County Nursing Home and Public Health buildings became a reality, plans were hatched to establish a main County facility at the Nye Road site utilizing the old nursing home structure. Plans were drawn up, budgets tossed about as the years passed. Finally, the Board of Supervisors moved forward and bit the proverbial bullet.

The Board of Supervisors’ Building Relocation Committee, headed by Butler Supervisor Dave Spickerman, arduously began the work. Then Sheriff Richard Pisciotti gave his department heads the go ahead to design the perfect flow for a modern police complex.

Renovations cost approximately $15.5 million and encompass 97,000 square feet
Parts of the old nursing home could be regenerated and remodeled. There would be a separate wing for road deputies, a separate wing for detectives and a main area for a lobby and administrative offices. No longer would persons visiting the sheriff’s office receive directions leading them through various doors and parts of an aged former nursing home.

A separate entrance and area to deal with juvenile offenders has been set up. A room has been set aside for a future gym where deputies will be able to work out, and ample space for training and technologies is now a reality.

“This is the perfect set-up. Beyond the beauty and architecture of the building, this is a functional operation, much better than I thought it would be,” said Sheriff Barry Virts.

Meanwhile, the County Probation department, housed in a windowless basement on William Street in the Village of Lyons, would now be given adequate space, replacing old room-partitioned mazes, again with little or no privacy.

Now, each probation officer is given his or her own private office. Modern facilities for processing drug tests, computer forensics, electronic monitoring and meeting rooms give the staff of 30 people in Probation room to breathe.

On the opposite side of the modern main foyer, the County Elections and Veterans Service Agency share yet another wing providing space and confidentiality for their staffs.

On the second floor, the County Emergency Management Office boasts a modern communications center where emergency personnel would gather in case of a county-wide emergency, such as severe storms, a Ginna Nuclear Plant emergency, or other type of disaster.

Modeled after the Monroe County facility, state-of-the-art computers and monitoring equipment is poised and ready.

In addition, the Fire Coordinator’s and Emergency Medical Services are also located on the second floor.

Off the main lobby a large meeting room is available for press conferences and public meetings and the basement serves as a record storage and voting machine warehouse.

On this Wednesday (6/8) the public is invited to a ribbon cutting and open house at the Public Safety Building located at 7376 Nye Road, Lyons, beginning at 5:00 p.m. and continuing until 8:00 p.m.

For more information about the Open House, or the Public Safety Building in general, contact the Board of Supervisors’ Office, (315) 946-5400 or, and you will be directed to the appropriate individual.