Construction of a new Calhoun Police Department facility finally became a reality this week, as grading subcontractors began moving equipment onto the site.
The plot of land on McDaniel Station Road at Recreation Drive will house not only a new police department, but also a new recreation maintenance facility.
Final soil and erosion approval by state officials was received on Feb. 5, according to Calhoun City Administrator Paul Worley at the most recent council meeting.
“That’s something we’ve been waiting on for a while,” Worley said. “It presented a little extra challenge with the close proximity to Oothcalooga Creek.”
Located adjacent to the recreation department’s black and yellow park, football and softball fields, and city dog park, the acreage that will be used by the city was donated by the Gordon County Development Authority at no cost to city taxpayers.
Savings on land purchase costs made the site more appealing to city officials over some other choices in the early planning stages, even though the facility will be slightly outside the traditional downtown Calhoun footprint.
A larger complex, however, will make it possible for a currently fractioned department to reunite under one roof. The department has had detectives working at a rented facility at the Tom B. David Airport, and other employees working at a city-owned building on Piedmont Street.
To build both the new police station and vehicle service building, as well as the recreation parks maintenance building, the city council unanimously approved the recommendation of architect Gregg Sims back in October to hire Felker Construction Co. Inc. with a low bid of $4.8 million. The project is part of the 2018 SPLOST.
Hoping to address overcrowding at the current downtown police department building at 200 N. Wall St., the initial possibility of a new facility began after members of the city council toured the 1928 former post office building back in the summer of 2016 and found it unsuitable going forward without either a full renovation or new station.
According to the city, the new police department plan is for a 13,754 square foot building with a 5,000 square foot vehicle service building, along with an indoor/outdoor K-9 kennel.
The recreation maintenance facility will be around 4,000 square feet. Future plans are to eventually remove the old maintenance building to make way for a new basketball court.