Bunnell, FL - It's been nearly a year since the Flagler County Sheriff's Office cleared out of its Operations Center in Bunnell amidst concerns over employee health.
Now Flagler County's finest is about to get a new home in Palm Coast, one which could cost taxpayers between $12 and $15 million to build.
During last night's (April 16th) meeting, the Flagler County Commission unanimously approved a plan to build the new Sheriff's Office headquarters on vacant land near the main branch library on Palm Coast Parkway.
Reports of over two dozen employees getting sick while working at the East Moody Boulevard location since FCSO moved there in 2015 prompted Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly to completely evacuate the facility last June, displacing 68 employees and moving them to other areas in the county.
Many of those employees have since filed workers' compensation claims and lawsuits against the county, claiming that not enough was done by the county to prevent them from getting sick.
It was soon afterward when a report released by FCSO showed signs of mold and other health hazards in the building's walls, which used to be the home of Flagler's only hospital before the county bought it and retrofitted it for FCSO, spending over $6 million in the process.
The option chosen by Flagler commissioners was the most expensive of four on the table, creating a 40,000 square-foot building on a 19-acre property owned by the county. The only part of that property which is currently developed is the southeast corner where the library sits.
You can find the details of those plans by clicking here and scrolling to page 140 (at the very bottom).
The future of the now-abandoned operations center isn't clear at this point, with county leaders and staff showing hesitation over fixing the current issues.
What is known is that the ops center will remain the law enforcement agency's legal address for now, bypassing concerns over a possible state constitution violation should FCSO move from the county seat.
County officials say it could take up to two years for the new FCSO headquarters to be built.