By JB Clark
TUPELO – Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre said the planning phase of the new police headquarters building is nearly complete, and he is anxious to see construction start.
Will Lewis, architect for JBHM Architecture, told the Tupelo City Council at a Monday work session the cost estimate for the 38,150-square-foot building is $9,599,505, under the city’s $10 million budget.
The new facility would unite most police operations on a four-acre property at Front and Franklin streets and add modern equipment and infrastructure. Early design estimates had been as high as $11 million.
Not included in the budget is optional housing for the explosive ordnance disposal and motorcycle divisions, which Lewis said has been designed and priced at $427,000.
“That’s one thing we had to keep out to stay within the budget,” he said. “The EOD and motorcycle garage we have planned, and it’s in our plan to include it as an alternative in the event the bids come in lower than we expect. You’ll certainly get the best price if you get it as part of a package.”
The early designs show a two-story building with a basement garage on the northeast end of the building.
The basement garage, which is labeled as an evidence garage in the plans, is where Aguirre said motorcycles will be stored until the second building can be built.
Lewis and Aguirre said they were proud of the square footage, which came in just over 100 square feet more than was deemed necessary in the project’s planning stages.
Lewis said they hope to be able to prep the site for groundwork by the beginning of 2015 and then have the entire project completed by late 2015 or early 2016.
The project has been in talks since Chief Harold Chaffin was in office, making Aguirre the third police chief to work on the project.
“We’ve been working on this process for some time, and now we’re ready to get some movement on it,” he said. “There has been a lot of things holding us up along the way. Getting that property held us up for quite some time. I’m ready to get rolling.”
Plans to build a new police facility stalled as city leaders waited to acquire the $1.5 million property seized by federal agencies as part of a contraband cigarette operation.