Orange County approves location for Northern County Campus

ORANGE COUNTY (April 4, 2018) -- The Orange County Board of Commissioners moved forward Tuesday with a plan to develop 21 acres located within the Hillsborough Highway 70/Cornelius Street corridor for a county campus that includes a much-needed new Detention Center and a new Environment and Agricultural Center.

"After much deliberation on this site and several other options, we felt this location provided the best solution," said Orange County Chair Mark Dorosin. "It offers proximity to the courthouse, the availability of water and sewer infrastructure and the ability to co-locate other projects, which will result in some economies of scale. We completed all the due diligence on the environmental concerns to determine if this is a suitable site, and there are no red flags."

Staff had examined rebuilding on the existing site or locating the center adjacent to the courthouse, but neither were deemed feasible. Another site on Highway 86 North near Coleman Loop Road was considered, but the cost to extend sewer infrastructure to the site would add an estimated $700,000-$800,000 to the cost.

The county contracted with several engineering firms to conduct numerous studies of the site, including an environmental site analysis, wetlands delineation, a cultural and archaeological assessment, and a soils and geotechnical analysis. Each survey revealed the site was suitable for the proposed purpose.

The County applied for a future land-use amendment to designate the properties as “Suburban Office” as well as a zoning amendment to designate the properties as “Economic Development District.” The Hillsborough Town Board of Commissioners approved those requests at its March 26 meeting.

"We appreciate the Town of Hillsborough Board of Commissioners in working with us on this project and sharing our vision of a facility that will serve the needs of the community for a long time," said Dorosin.

Construction on the detention center is anticipated to begin in early 2019, with a target completion date of late 2020 or early 2021.