Comal County Sheriff's Office Renovation

New Braunfels, TX

Comal County Sheriff's Office Renovation

Owner: Comal County
Architect: HDR

Project Team

What began as a 337-bed jail in New Braunfels is now nearly unrecognizable as the newly renovated Comal County Sheriff’s Office.

Through a competitive sealed proposal process, SpawGlass worked with HDR and Comal County as the 70,000-square-foot building underwent extensive demolition of block walls and metal cells to create a space where staff previously scattered amongst various locations could come together under one roof. The Walter Fellers Law Enforcement Center, named for the longest serving sheriff in Comal County history, now features offices, evidence storage, the 911 dispatch center, a data center, interrogation rooms, training facilities, a press room, K-9 kennels, a gym and locker rooms.

Led by Senior Project Manager Travis Evans (now North Texas operations manager) and Superintendent CJ Roberts, the project team was well-prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. Throughout the duration of construction, the 911 dispatch center operated out of temporary onsite facilities, but all communications were continuously fed out of the Sheriff’s Office. Maintaining services to ensure the 911 center never lost power or communications was a critical element of the project. Whenever the project team had to perform a power transfer or demolition to the electrical room, backup generators were used in sequence to maintain redundancy. Replacing the generators with new models was also part of the scope of the project. Intricate planning and redundancy were essential when performing any activity that could impact power to the facility. Maintaining critical operations was so essential that multiple layers of electrical redundancy were included, particularly for the 911 dispatch center with three layers of redundancy.

With the effects of COVID still causing ripples in the availability and cost of building materials, the team worked to bring costs within the County’s budget. “It was a tough time to build,” said Travis. “There were a lot of material fluctuations and volatility in the market. The team did a great job, though, of being proactive, identifying those issues and finding creative solutions to keep the project moving.” The SpawGlass team value-engineered multiple materials, including roofing, the HVAC system, generators, plumbing, ceiling tile, flooring and insulation, to save the County over $350,000.

In a nod to the history of Comal County, stone from the Comal County Courthouse was included in the design of one of the Sheriff’s Office lobbies. The bust statue of Sheriff Fellers, the office’s namesake, is featured prominently on a stone display constructed from the recycled material.

With the client being a government entity, the project team had a special connection to this project with Travis, CJ, and Assistant Superintendent Tim Pena having all served in the United States military. Also, as a community contractor with an office in New Braunfels/ Comal County, it was important to the project team that local subcontractors be used. Roughly 40 percent of subcontractors involved in the project were from Comal County.

CJ credits the success of this project as a major source of growth for the entire project team. “It was a very strong team, and we all learned a lot from each other,” said CJ. “We started this project as one of SpawGlass’ other projects for the County was nearing completion, the Comal County Landa/Annex Buildings Renovation. Working with the County over the past three years, and the trust we built, they knew they were in good hands.”

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