Alachua's new police station will open soon


Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 11:12 p.m.

ALACHUA — Police Chief Robert Jernigan is anxious about the city's new police station, which may be ready for moving in next month.

"I've got two sergeants working out of one office," Jernigan said.

The new station is part of a municipal complex that will also include a new City Hall that Mayor Jean Calderwood said will be ready in the spring.

The new complex is located at NW 142nd Terrace, near the Dollar General store. City Manager Clovis Watson Jr. said the project — which also includes related roadwork — will end up costing between $6.5 million and $7 million.

The current Alachua police station is about 1,800 square feet. The new one will have more than 7,100 square feet.

Jernigan said the lack of space has created several problems for the 23-person department. For example, it is sometimes difficult to find a suitable interview room.

The benefits of the new station won't only be in size. The new station will have a Breathalyzer so the police can check people for driving under the influence without having to take them to a nearby city, like High Springs.

The new station will also have a training area. The department has had to use various locations in Alachua.

Watson said Alachua Police outgrew its station 15 years ago.

The old City Hall suffered ceiling and computer damage in a fire last year. The cause is still under investigation.

City employees have been working out of trailers behind the building since the fire.

The new City Hall will have several improvements, including a covered drive-through that residents can use to pay their utility bills. It will have 23,750 square feet of space, enough so there will be an office for each commissioner and the mayor.

Watson said the room where commission meetings are held is wider than it is long to help residents feel like they are closer to their commissioners.

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