S.P. Police Station Nearly Ready
The new $8.5 million Southern Pines police station cleared another hurdle this week, and town officials hope to move personnel into the building beginning the first week of June.
The new building, on West Pennsylvania Avenue next to the fire station, passed inspection Monday. Crews started moving furniture into the building that afternoon, leaving the contractors with a punch list of smaller items to complete before the building is completed.
Police Chief John Letteney got the keys to the building Tuesday, Town Manager Reagan Parsons said.
"We will be spending the rest of the month getting the furniture in and completing the IT work in the building," Parsons said.
Parsons said there is no firm date yet for building occupancy, but he is aiming for the first week of June as a time when the 31 full-time and two part-time members of the department can move into the new building.
The transition of officers and personnel from their current facility in the Public Works building on the U.S. 1 Service Road will be gradual.
"We are looking forward to starting operations here," Letteney said. "And the transition is a very important part of the process. We can't just shut down one location while we move into another. We have to maintain services 24/7."
Letteney said he hopes the final big part of the move - the installation of the new radio and communications system - will be completed by the final week of May. That would allow personnel to begin moving into the building by early June, with everything to be be completed within a couple of weeks, he said.
The 30,000-square-foot building features a two-story design that steps down to a single floor in the rear of the building. The building includes a large training area for officers and other safety personnel, meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art communication center, a centralized server site and a conference room that doubles as an emergency command center.
It also features an environmentally friendly design.
The size of the building should accommodate the growth of the department for years, town leaders have said.
"Everyone is excited," Letteney said. "I get questions and compliments from the public every day. They ask when we are going to open or when we can take a tour, and they compliment he building or the landscaping or something. And rightly so because this is a major project for the town."
The need for a new police station arose when the town's old municipal building on Broad Street at the Downtown Park was demolished in 2006.
Since then, the Police Department has been located in temporary quarters in the cramped old Access Printing building off Morganton Road near U.S. 1. According to Letteney, the department occupies about 7,000 square feet of that building. The Public Works Department will take over that building when the new police station is finished.
The Town Council purchased the land for the police station in 2007. The Southern Pines Farmers Market was previously located there.
Construction on the new building began n early 2009. The original completion date for the project was late December of 2009.
Delays in the project forced several adjustments to the scheduled completion date.
Most recently, the project was slowed in March when inspectors found insulation problems and standing water in some areas of the building.
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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