By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Sheriff's units are relocating
Complaints of 'sick building' prompt move
FoCo Moves 1 es
Forsyth County Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Franco unpacks in his new office. Members of the department are moving into a building on Tribble Gap Road, north of downtown Cumming. - photo by Emily Saunders

Several units of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office soon will have a new home.

Next week’s expected move comes about two months after the county commission agreed 5-0 to relocate employees from at least two sheriff’s divisions to Cumming Corporate Center, north of downtown.

The building, at 475 Tribble Gap Road, will house internal affairs, administrative personnel, investigators and Sheriff Ted Paxton’s office on three floors.

Paxton has said that about $97,400 from the department’s yearly budget would be used to lease space in the 24,000-square-foot building.

The sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigation building and Criminal Investigations Division annex were vacated in February following employee reports of “sick building syndrome.”

Those employees were moved to the sheriff’s north and south precincts. In some cases, the relocation separated supervisors and their employees.

The CID main office also was slated for abandonment, but there was nowhere for those employees to go.

Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Allen said employees are happy the units will be reunited next week.

“This is going to make management and supervision of the units much better,” Allen said. “And it will increase our efficiency and service to the community.”

Allen said investigators who handle auto thefts and the sex offender registry, as well as the special victims unit, will work out of the building.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site, “sick building syndrome” is characterized by headache, eye, nose or throat irritation that appears to be linked to time spent in the facility. Symptoms also can include dry cough, itchy skin, dizziness and nausea.

Symptoms can surface after exposure to inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants from indoor and outdoor sources and biological contaminants.

They subside in most patients, according to the Web site, shortly after leaving the building.

Problems in the sheriff’s facilities have included sewer backups, rodents and improper ventilation.

Had bond questions in November not failed, new facilities would have been built.

But voters rejected a $16 million bond, with a 20-year repayment schedule, that would have paid for a new 51,000-square-foot sheriff's headquarters.

Voters also rejected a plan to build a 226,000-square-foot jail with 480 beds through a $75 million bond.

It was the fourth time in eight years that a proposal to build a new detention center failed.

The dilapidated state of the buildings is one of many factors Paxton had cited in pushing for new facilities.