Proposed Tupelo police facility enters detailed planning phase

I'm a journalist focused on government, policy, politics and people.
I find what matters and bird dog it like nobody's business.

A proposed rendering shows the possible new Tupelo Police Department facility at Front and Franklin streets. (Courtesy)

A proposed rendering shows the possible new Tupelo Police Department facility at Front and Franklin streets. (Courtesy)

By Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – After a decade or so of discussions for a new Tupelo Police Department facility, waiting six more months is doable.

If all goes as planned, City Council members could vote within six months to approve a construction contract for a new facility at Front and Franklin streets.

Before a vote to approve a contractor, council members and Mayor Jason Shelton will have work sessions to get updates on the project and likely will need to formally agree on a budget.

City Council members informally asked Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre and architect William Lewis of JBHM Architects to keep costs to $10 million for the new 37,504-square-foot facility. The facility was first mentioned at a possible cost of $8.8 million but increased when council members recommended creating a police headquarters expected to last a generation or more. With a budget figure in mind, the two men resumed meeting to discuss more specifics.

“We’re going through the programming process to create a detailed program to define all of the departments, all the way from the number of copy rooms to the size of janitor closets,” Lewis said.

Planning to design a police facility to last for at least a quarter century involves details like where the more than 100 police employees will have space to work for years to come. Computer programs allow the police chief and architect to see how they can expect the actual rooms and space to look.

“It’s kind of like having a bunch of building blocks,” Aguirre said. “We’re moving them around to make sure they fit in the spaces.”

The new facility will replace existing police buildings, currently in three separate locations. Most police employees work out of the Front Street building, but two other locations on Court Street have offices, including those for supervisors.

Demolition and removal of the former cigarette warehouse, which is sitting on the future station’s land, has entered final stages.

The city has $5.3 million already for the new police headquarters and likely will finance the rest.

As for opening the new police facility, Tupelo Chief Operations Officer Don Lewis said significant capital building projects take time to plan and build.

“We’re at least 18 months to two years from moving into a new station,” Lewis said.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com

  • aaron

    if the idiots running tupelo had actually maintained the police building, they wouldn’t be spending a fortune for a new one. why does tupelo need another tourist trap that’s bigger than a city block? since tupelo has to have the biggest and the best so they can shove it in other city’s faces, why not put in a pool, a spa, offices for each and every officer, a breaking news room, a speech office, a tv room, a cafeteria, a room for the mayor since he’s top slug, a day care center, a tanning room and a 3 story parking garage. and throw in a newly built road just for them. for any municipality to get a new office every few years they let the occupied one be condemned and never maintained like they have with the building the police now occupy. in less than 20 years they will have to build a new one because this new one will be falling a part due to lack of care and substandard building materials. I love how tupelo thinks it’s the only corrupt city in the country, with it stealing industries from other areas, corrupt officials, drug dealing pharmacist and those who enjoy high class hookers.