FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 6, 2012) -- The 217th Military Police Detachment here traces its roots to World War II when its earliest predecessor, the 317th Military Police Escort Guard Section, was formed. One of the throwbacks to that period of its history is the 1940s-era building the unit has occupied since it was activated at Fort Lee on June 16, 2000. But now, that's a thing of the past as well … literally.

Next week, the detachment will move into a new $3.9 million facility on Mahone Avenue where it will continue its mission of protecting and serving the Fort Lee community.

On Nov. 28, post officials joined members of the detachment to cut the ribbon on the new building that is a vast improvement over the old "dilapidated wood barracks," as Col. Rodney D. Edge put it.

Edge, the garrison commander, and Capt. Christopher De La Torre, detachment commander, wielded the oversized scissors to snip the green and yellow ribbon being held by other post and construction company officials.

As he welcomed the audience, De La Torre was clearly delighted to be on the verge of moving out of the old facility, which he described as "a couple of double-wides on stilts."

The new facility is 17,000 square feet. In addition to the detachment, it will house the Provost Marshal Office traffic and bicycle sections as well as a new police evidence room.

Furniture for the facility's new headquarters was due to be delivered this week, and De La Torre hoped to complete the move before holiday block leave begins in mid-December.

During his brief remarks, Edge made reference to the three military dogs sitting at attention in formation and reminisced about the old 55th MP unit that was located nearby during his student days.

The 217th has 57 Soldiers and six military working dogs for its wide-ranging law enforcement mission in support of the PMO. It also deploys specialty units to support contingency operations around the world.

Edge thanked the MP detachment for keeping Fort Lee safe. He noted the officers have had to help staff the post's gates because of a shortage of security guards.

Guests at the ceremony toured the facility during a reception that followed the outdoor event.