The new two-story, approximately 22,000-square-foot building, which will be adjacent to the city’s 4400 Building on Acworth Industrial Drive, replaces the city’s 5,000-square-foot station, which wasn’t initially built to house a police department.
“It was originally just a metal building in a business park,” Acworth Police Chief Wayne Dennard said of the present facility, which has housed Acworth P.D. since 1995. “The city purchased the pre-constructed building and built out some office space inside.”
The old Acworth Jail on Senator Russell Avenue also housed police until 1995. The former jailhouse was built with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Money, Dennard said.
Dennard said the additional square footage will allow room for expansion over the next several decades, as the 54 employees are now sharing close quarters.
“We’re busting at the seams,” he said. “There’s people sharing office space on top of each other. ... Our hope is for this new facility to take care of our needs for many years to come.”
Mayor Tommy Allegood said the project will cost about $3.8 million and be paid for with recent SPLOST collections.
Allegood said Acworth continues to be the fastest-growing city in Cobb County, expanding from about 6,000 residents in 1998 to about 23,000 in 2010, according to the most recent U.S. census data.
“We just outgrew the space,” he said. “Well, we outgrew it probably six or seven years ago. But now we’re building a station that will be able to accommodate police services for the next 50 years.”
Dennard said he and other members of the department spent the last year visiting other police stations to get a feel for what they would like to see in Acworth.
“We tried to get ideas from these other agencies and what would work well for us and incorporate that into how we operate,” Dennard said.
Jim Croft, founder of Kennesaw-based Croft & Associates, designed the headquarters to incorporate an existing 3,000-square-foot building already on the site to save money.
“It will all look like a brand-new building,” Croft said, adding the exterior design will reflect the historical theme of the Acworth area.
On the inside, the building will have separate offices for command staff, criminal investigations, community affairs, special operations and the patrol division.
A main feature of the new design is a large community room, which Dennard said will be used for police training and police-sponsored programs like the Citizen’s Police Academy, but will also be open to civic groups and homeowners’ associations that may want to use the space for meetings.
“It was a room that was really important for us to have,” Dennard said. “It’s accessible from the front lobby, so we thought it would be good for any group to reserve the room. We also host some training at our department and this space would allow us to invite other agencies to participate with us.”
The new headquarters will also feature an evidence laboratory, an evidence storage room, weapons armory, K-9 Unit headquarters, two interview rooms, high-density police records storage and a fitness area with locker rooms.
Croft said it is designed for 24/7 operation with emergency power systems.
Dennard said he is looking to break ground on the station by Sept. 1 and it is scheduled to open in the spring of next year.