As the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station nears completion, City of Santa Clarita and station officials offered a sneak peek of the state-of-the-art facility.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Captain Justin Diez and Project Manager Ross Pistone gave a tour of the new station’s construction site to members of the media on Friday, with a goal to open in the coming months.
Centrally located on Golden Valley Road, the 46,552 square-foot station nearly doubles the amount of space compared to the current station built almost 50 years ago in 1972.
The project, a partnership between the City of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles, also features a 4,165 square-foot vehicle maintenance facility, communications tower and a helipad.
If the needs of the station grow further, there is a future building pad, with utility hook-ups ready, which can increase the capacity of the station by up to 8,000 square feet.
SCV Sheriff’s Station 2.0
In the decades since the current SCV Sheriff’s Station was opened, the Santa Clarita Valley population was at 50,000, compared to an estimated 290,000 residents as of 2020.
The new building allows all members of the station to be housed under one roof. Currently, due to space restrictions, the detective bureau operates out of a remote location.
Diez said having all investigators and civilian staff together will not only provide better workflow but will also increase communication between different divisions.
One room of the new station contains several units — Carrer Offenders, Burglary, Robbery and Assault (COBRA), the Juvenile Intervention Team (J-Team), Crime Prevention Unit (CPU), Crime Impact Team (CIT) — as well as deputies assigned to Gorman area and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
These specialized units are now housed right next to the detective bureau, and can “pop in” to ask questions if needed, Diez said.
Other units, including traffic, also have increased space, with traffic Sgt. Scott Shoemaker adding motor deputies currently have to share computers.
A larger 9-1-1 dispatch center is also housed in the new facility which is able to accommodate a much larger number of operators than the current station.
“Above and Beyond”
The complex is built to one-and-a-half times the earthquake guidelines for a normal structure, due to the facility deemed an “essential use facility,” according to the project manager.
“Everything we do is above and beyond,” Pistone said. “The steel, the welds, the concrete, that all plays out in not only the cost but time to complete the project.”
A large diesel-powered generator is on-site, with 1,000 kilowatts of power, estimated to run “every single light” at the station for 72 hours on one tank, Diez said.
The generator further ensures that dispatch operations continue in the event of a power outage or major emergency.
To further prepare and respond to large emergencies, the new facility features a community room that can serve as an emergency operation center. A space the current station does not have.
Diez said the room will lead to increased communication during a major emergency or disaster, with representatives from multiple agencies able to be in one place.
The station’s operation center is expected to work in tandem with Santa Clarita City Hall.
Upgrades Inside and Out
Outside the main building, there is a maintenance facility, vehicle car wash area, fueling stations and covered duty bag lockers next to where patrol vehicles are parked.
“Having a maintenance facility like this is going to be huge,” Diez said. “In theory, we would be able to do most things here.”
Due to limited capabilities at the current station, vehicles are sent to Pitchess Detention Center or as far away as Downtown Los Angeles for repairs, according to Diez.
The maintenance facility also is able to house storage for off-road vehicles and equipment for search and rescue.
A large vehicle storage area is expected to house specialized vehicles including the armored “Bearcat” and the station’s mobile command unit.
In the far corner of the complex is a helipad designed for the department’s largest helicopter, the Super Puma known as “Air 5.” The current station does not have that capability.
The new helipad is expected to make it easier for rescues conducted by Air 5, which assists the Santa Clarita Valley Search and Rescue Team.
Each building, and the 180-foot communications tower, have lights to enable helicopters to land at all hours of the day and night.
Making The Switch
An estimated date of completion has not been announced as of Friday with Pistone saying it is “months away.”
Diez is excited about the move but said it is going to be hard work ensuring there is no disruption in communication services, including dispatch.
“The move-in, as you can imagine, is a whole other process,” Diez said. “Think about dispatch, flipping the switch on day one, getting dispatch moved over. And not the actual people working dispatch but the equipment.”
Plans for the current sheriff’s station after the move are not known, with the county exploring options for the building.
“There are many possibilities,” Diez said. “We are in the very, very early stages. We probably won’t know for another six months… that has been the question that everybody wants to know.”
The new SCV Sheriff’s Station is located at 2601 Golden Valley Road, in between Center Pointe Parkway and Robert C. Lee Parkway.
Man In Bear Suit Walking From L.A. To San Francisco To Raise Money For Nonprofits
A man in a bear suit passed through the Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday on his 380-mile journey, walking from Los Angeles to San Francisco to raise money for nonprofits.
Jessy Larios, known as Bearsun, left the Little Tokyo neighborhood of L.A. on April 12 and his documenting the trek on Instagram.
Some members of the Castaic community took to social media to figure out why a person in a bear suit was walking along The Old Road early Tuesday morning.
Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station also encountered the “bear-y unique situation.”
“You may have seen a large teddy bear walking through town, yes a large teddy bear… walking,” said SCV Sheriff’s Station officials. “One of our deputies got the opportunity to meet up with the individual inside the bear and learned he is on a mission to complete a walk from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We wish him the best of luck on his adventure.”
Larios is working to get more sponsors and donations to help fund the Bearsun project, raising money to donate to any selected nonprofit, he said.
The goal is to complete the cross-state trip on foot in under a week, camping outdoors the entire time.
“I’ll have a photographer meet me at five pinpoints to take pics, do video documents so we can share as much as the experience with you,” Larios said.
Second Tiny Home Village For Those Experiencing Homelessness To Open In North Hollywood
The second tiny home village for those experiencing homelessness is set to open in North Hollywood, after the opening of the first in February.
On April 26, the nonprofit Hope of the Valley is opening a tiny home community near Alexandria Park, consisting of 103 units and 200 beds.
Ken Craft, CEO of Hope of the Valley, is seeking support ahead of the opening, requesting new bed sheets, towels and other items to furnish the tiny homes.
“In order to get the site ready, we need 200 sheets, 200 pillows, 200 blankets, 400 storage bins and 200 towels,” Kraft said. “In advance, thank you for being a community member that cares and gives. We cannot do what we do without you.”
Each tiny home is equipped with heating, air conditioning, windows and at least one bed. The village offers another option for families and couples who are typically separated into separate housing areas.
The first tiny home village on Chandler Street, with 40 homes and 75 beds, opened on Feb. 1, with the assistance of L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian.
“I believe in this model, this will be a viable, sustainable for many people who are coming off the street,” Kraft said in a previous story.
The units also allow for privacy, which is important for those who have experienced trauma in their lives, allowing them to feel safe, secure and to start the rebuilding process, he said.
“It creates an alternative,” Kraft said. “This site allows for separation, especially during COVID. It allows for couples and families to be together. For example, a mother with a special needs son is able to still care for them. In a congregate setting, that may not be possible.”
Hope of the Valley, founded in the summer of 2009, operates nine shelters, two access centers and a job center. The nonprofit currently provides 507 beds per night at various shelters throughout the San Fernando Valley housing single adults, families and transitional age youth.
The number of beds is expected to increase throughout the upcoming year, Kraft said.
In addition to the tiny home village on Chandler, Hope of the Valley plans on opening five shelters in 2021, in addition to the former Skateland location in Northridge which is expected to be transformed into a 110-bed facility.
The new shelters are expected to double the number of beds in the San Fernando Valley to about 1,100 beds in one year.
“Once you come here, you can finally breathe,” he said. “You can think beyond today, and anticipate tomorrow. Coming to a place like this, it’s a new lease on life, it is where hope begins.”
The nonprofit also offers wrap-around services including case management, job placement, housing navigators, substance abuse counseling, mental health services, among others.
In 2020, the homeless population in the San Fernando Valley and across Los Angeles County has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Craft said their shelters have had to reduce their housing capacity to 70% in order to comply with the new health regulations made necessary by the pandemic.
The organization’s manpower has also been affected, as shelters across the county have been forced to suspend their volunteer programs due to the current surge in cases.
Hope of the Valley operates Thrift Stores throughout the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley and Simi Valley.
The nonprofit relies heavily on donations and contributions from the community in order to operate. Those looking to donate, visit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission.
‘Go Kings Go, Go Cube Go:’ Santa Clarita Celebrates Opening The Cube Ice Center
Decked out in jerseys, Santa Clarita City Council members and the community celebrated the opening of The Cube Ice and Entertainment Center Monday morning.
Luc Robitaille, Los Angeles Kings president and hall of fame player, joined Mayor Bill Miranda to recognize the culmination of the grassroots movement in Santa Clarita to save the ice rink.
“We wouldn’t be here without the passion, the commitment and the grassroots movement of all the people here and more beyond here that said: ‘We can’t let this Ice Station go away,” Miranda explained.
The mayor added thousands of people contacted the City Council to save the center, which is the second most-used facility in the Santa Clarita Valley, more than the community center, parks or libraries.
Since taking over the facility, the City has made a number of improvements, including rebranding and improvements to the ice.
Robitaille presented Miranda with a signed Kings jersey with “Santa Clarita” proudly presented on the back.
“Thank you so much for saving this building,” Robitaille said. “Everybody that comes in this facility is going to have a great experience.”
The former hall of famer spoke to the young members of the crowd at the ceremony saying “this is for you,” adding some of them might become future professional hockey players or Olympic figure skaters.
Other members of the Kings organization joined the ceremony virtually via a video on the screen outside the building including play-by-play announcers Alex Faust and Nick Nickson.
Robitaille joined members of the City Council and City staff for the ceremonial first shot to officially open The Cube.
Once the facility was opened, dozens of young players from across the Santa Clarita Valley enjoyed the ice for the first time in over a year.
The Valencia Ice Station closed on March 25 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the former operators said.
In response to the groundswell of community support to “save the rink” the City Council approved the acquisition of the facility in August of 2020.
The council then unanimously voted in February to award a five-year contract to the L.A. Kings, along with American Sports Entertainment Centers (ASEC) which operate 23 sports facilities across the country, according to the City of Santa Clarita.
Larry Bruyere, who managed the former Ice Station, is returning to the facility after working at the former Ice Station and bringing a “hometown feel” to the upgraded complex.
“There was a lot that needed to be done, but they seem to be tackling everything head-on,” Bruyere said in a previous story. “I am excited to see the transformation.”
In addition to sports, the facility is also an event and entertainment space as well.
Banquets, mixers, conventions, concerts, charity galas, sporting competitions and more can take place on covered ice, said City officials.
For more information on The Cube Ice and Entertainment Center, visit here.
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