April 8, 2013

City council tours proposed police department

Mark Millsap, Publisher,
The Express-Star

— Monday’s City Council work session was devoted to touring the current police department and a potential new home for the police department at the Army Reserve Center near Grady Memorial Hospital.

The purpose of the tour was to help the council make an educated decision on either renovating the current police department or repurposing and remodeling the vacant Army Reserve Center. When the tour concluded, it was obvious to most Council members that the Army Reserve building would be beneficial to the future of the police department.

Police Chief Eddie Adamson, Assistant Police Chief Elip Moore and City Special Projects Director Steve Chapman took the council through the current police department located in downtown Chickasha to show the current state of affairs.

The building needs major renovations around every corner and space is the number one issue that they are dealing with.

There were small office spaces--almost closet size in some cases--as well as water damage around windows and throughout the ceilings in most rooms. Storage space is at a premium as training dummies, supplies and files are crammed into every nook and cranny that can be found.

The city courtroom is adequate space most days, however, it does not allow for expansion. While viewing the proposed expansion space that was formerly the EMS and Fire Department, Chapman told the council that the space was actually two different buildings side by side rather than one building. The renovation plans call for much construction on cut-throughs from building to building to make the space useable.

After leaving the current police department, the council toured a proposed new location which was formerly the Army Reserve Center. As the council entered, it was evident that there was more space to work with. Council member Howard Carpenter said over and over “This building is a blank a canvas.” As Chapman explained to the Council the potential renovations of the building, Council members expressed their positive thoughts about the space.

“The building itself, from the roof to the HVAC unit, is in good shape”, Chapman said.

“The roof will last another 5-8 years and the building provides the potential to expand”.

Chapman is expecting the Council to discuss options for both buildings at the next work session and a decision to move forward will be made at that time. From then, it should be only six to nine months.