SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office will soon be home to an upgraded basement facility after receiving official approval of the remodel from the Sheridan County Commission during its March 1 meeting.
The renovation will maintain and expand training space in the basement while walling off a conference room and adding two or three offices in the sheriff’s office building, Sheridan County Sheriff Allen Thompson explained.
“It’s just time to really professionalize and upgrade [the space],” Thompson said.
Sheridan County commissioners officially approved both projects in an architectural services agreement with Arete Design Group; the group will design the new coroner’s facility and the renovations for the sheriff’s offices’ basement.
Design costs for the facility are not to exceed $24,068, Sheridan County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said. Total construction cost estimates remain unknown and will be determined based on proposed design, Obermueller explained, but the county plans to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to finance the project.
Currently, most of the basement is an open room — unrenovated since the building’s original construction in the 1980s — used to store office furniture, targets and remnants from other remodel projects. With a conference table at one end of the room and training dummies at the other, the space has been used as a training area, conference room and emergency operations center but can only perform one function at a time, Thompson said.
The basement is also Sheridan County’s only mat room, or matted space appropriate for law enforcement conducting custody and control training, Thompson said. Most law enforcement agencies in Sheridan County, including Sheridan Police Department, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigations, use the basement’s mats, targets and other training equipment to train officers.
The renovated space, Thompson said, will have many potential uses, but its primary benefit will be the opportunity for the sheriff’s office to host several trainings or other events in the same place, at the same time.
“We’re trying to utilize the space more efficiently,” Obermueller said.
For example, the new space will allow SCSO to host custody and control training in the mat room while conducting interviews in the new offices, simplifying scheduling and organization for law enforcement agencies across the county. Obermueller said the space’s new conference room will also double as an emergency operations center in the event of a county-level crisis.
“There are a lot of great aspects to it,” Thompson said.