Demolition of GPD building is under way
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.
The official demolition of the Gainesville Police Department Headquarters began Thursday morning.
The building, at 721 NW Sixth St., is being razed to make way for a brand new facility. According to GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias, senior members of GPD — including Chief Tony Jones — were on hand to see the first bricks fall.
“It was actually quite emotional for the officers that watched the first strikes of the excavator,” Tobias said. “There are a lot of memories from that building. A lot of us were sworn into service inside the old station, but now we’re one step closer to making new memories in a new building.”
Originally, a renovation was planned and began in late 2010, but code compliance and asbestos issues made a complete demolition and rebuild more cost-effective.
The building has been vacant since then, and Chief Jones said he’s felt the impact of the displacement.
“Our police officers and staff have been displaced for over 2 years, and they had to look at the old building just sitting there empty,” Jones said. “Now we all can see progress towards a brand new building for both us and the community. Now it’s real. Now it’s tangible.”
The demolition should take about four weeks, Tobias said, with the site prep for new construction to follow.
The Gilbane Building Company is overseeing the construction, and Cross Construction is handling the demolition.
According to Tobias, Gilbane’s Project Executive Joe Frisco said safety and being “good neighbors” will be the top priority as the project moves forward.
“Gilbane is excited about moving into the construction phase of the project,” Frisco said. “We could not have gotten this far in the project without a huge team effort from GPD, the city of Gainesville and the local community residents.”
At the start of the demolition, a large crane picked away at pieces of the back of the building while a fire hose sprayed water — to minimize pollutants released into the air. Tobias said the construction company will recycle parts of the building to keep with Gainesville’s recycling initiative. Also, he said the department is aware of the noise the work will create and will work to curb it.
“Everyone has gotten used to the old building being abandoned,” said Tobias, “but we are about to see a flurry of activity there. By nature, construction projects add a great degree of noise and extra traffic, but the work crews have been educated on the city’s noise ordinance. They aim to complete this project with as little public disruption as possible.”