Walls to new GPD building start going up

An view of the construction of Gainesville Police Department's new building on Tuesday in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:49 p.m.

Past winding gravel paths and deep trenches lies the groundwork for the new Gainesville Police Department headquarters.

In March of next year, the new building will open, ready for officers to return. But until then, construction continues at 721 NW Sixth St., where the original worn-down headquarters once stood.

On Tuesday, workers in hardhats hammered away, installing support beams and starting on the exterior walls. A poured concrete slab serves as the site's current foundation.

"It's bittersweet," Ben Tobias, GPD spokesman said. "A lot of the officers were sworn in at the old facility."

The new 40,000-square-foot building will be smaller than its 56,000-square-foot predecessor.

"We're getting creative with space," Tobias said.

The 16,000 fewer square feet of space in the new building is partly because GPD's new gym and physical training facility will no longer be in the main building. Tobias said construction has started on the 9,000-square-foot offsite warehouse and former food bank that will serve as GPD's new training center. So the new building is actually closer to 7,000 fewer square feet, which will be resolved through planning and placement, Tobias said.

The cost of the new building will reach about $10.9 million, Tobias said. The funding is coming from multiple sources, including some $3.9 million remaining from the initial pledge for the headquarters construction, $1.5 million from a Federal Law Enforcement Contraband Forfeiture Fund, $2 million from a bond issuance approved in 2011 and $3.5 million from reserves.

Until completion of the new building, units are spread out around the city, and local residents still need to trek to these sites' temporary locations.

Tobias said the departments are eager to be under one roof again.

"It'll not only be good for the officers, but good for the citizens," Tobias said.

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