“If you think about this population growth that we have had here, we’ve had to increase the size of the police department,” he said.
The police department has been housed in its current station for more than 20 years, since the early 1990s, and shares the space with the Department of Public Works, Acworth Power Department, the court system and the city’s jail.
“Our offices, to say they are cluttered would be an understatement,” said Capt. Mark Cheatham, who said the department outgrew its 5,000-square-foot space years ago.
With $3.8 million from the 2010 county SPLOST, as well as $6,000 for the interior additions and $200,000 in design fees, the new building will offer 23,000 square feet of space, more than four times the current police space, Allegood said.
Roswell-based Hodges and Hicks General Contractors LLC will build the new station.
The new building will include a community room, just off of the entrance, said Acworth Police Chief Wayne Dennard, which will allow residents to rent the room for meetings and events when the station is not using it for training.
The police department will be able to hold larger events, Cheatham said, and will now be able to allow more than 70 residents to participate in the popular Citizen’s Police Academy. The department has only had room to train about 40 residents in the past, he said.
A canine facility for the department’s three dogs will be included in the new building, which will have an indoor and outdoor kennel, as well as a room for officers to bathe the dogs.
“There will be room to spread out, for our guys to do their job. Just being in that building is going to change the way our officers feel and approach their jobs,” said Dennard, who brought a box of Krispy Kreme donuts to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Many were hopeful that the increased space will improve the quality of work the police officers will be able to do.
“I think it is going to bring us to another level of professionalism,” Dennard said.
The police department’s budget was $3.4 million in 2013 and 2014, Cheatham said. There have been no new hires, partially because there is no room to put more city workers, he said.
The new building will be to the left of the current police station, and will be open for use in summer 2014, said Allegood, who expects the new building will be able to last the city for the next 75 years, at least.
As soon as construction is complete on the new building, the current building will be completely gutted and renovated, expanding the city’s court services, Allegood said.
The renovations will be funded by a municipal bond that the city will issue for about $3 million, he said, replacing the current $3 million bond the city is paying off, which was used for initial renovations on the current police station.
“We’re ready to go. We’ve been waiting on this since I got here 11 years ago,” Dennard said.