Smyrna Police headquarters expansion almost ready

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The new addition to Smyrna Police Headquarters should be ready for use by officers at the end of this month. Weather-related delays caused the expansion project to fall behind schedule, officials said. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

SMYRNA — Construction to expand the Smyrna Police Department headquarters is months behind schedule but is, at least, now nearing completion.

As to the delay, Smyrna town manager Dave Hugg pointed to a rainy summer season as having a slowing impact. The weather also caused the Delaware Department of Transportation to push back certain road projects during the same span, he said.

“Originally, the project suffered through weather delays during the vulnerable time of the construction of the

NEW PD FEATURES According to the Smyrna Police Department, among the features of its new building under construction are: • Dispatch/communications will have large enough area to have multiple dispatchers working as needed and room for future growth. • Patrol room will have room for numerous officers to be working simultaneously and includes offices for patrol sergeants. Armory will be in the new building and securely and safely store all firearms and ammunition away from access from any unauthorized personnel. • Uniform storage closet, SWAT storage closet. • Mens/Womens locker rooms and bathrooms large enough for future growth of the department. • Training room for departmental training and potentially fitness room for officers and civilian employees. • Separate IT/server room to handle 21st-century equipment, policing is technology based and driven with the addition of security cameras, in car cameras, now body cameras, all that information must be sent and stored somewhere.

NEW PD FEATURES
According to the Smyrna Police Department, among the features of its new building under construction are:
• Dispatch/communications will have large enough area to have multiple dispatchers working as needed and room for future growth.
• Patrol room will have room for numerous officers to be working simultaneously and includes offices for patrol sergeants. Armory will be in the new building and securely and safely store all firearms and ammunition away from access from any unauthorized personnel.
• Uniform storage closet, SWAT storage closet.
• Mens/Womens locker rooms and bathrooms large enough for future growth of the department.
• Training room for departmental training and potentially fitness room for officers and civilian employees.
• Separate IT/server room to handle 21st-century equipment, policing is technology based and driven with the addition of security cameras, in car cameras, now body cameras, all that information must be sent and stored somewhere.

basement, as did many site related projects during that time,” he said.

“While the completion was not necessarily delayed, it has been extended due to the acceptance and execution of the additional items requested by the Smyrna Police Department.”

Mr. Hugg said the building project is budgeted at approximately $4.7 million out of an awarded $4.9 million low interest loan through the United States Department of Agriculture. The remainder of the money will not be drawn from the loan and will be returned to the USDA, he said.

Originally, Mr. Hugg said, Smyrna Town Council approved up to $4.2 million which included authorization for a larger basement and sallyport, with funding also provided by the sale of an electric building.

“Council monitored the project to ensure on-budget performance before authorizing certain personnel and public safety measures associated with the building and site such as enhanced ballistics building perimeter protection, site lighting, perimeter fencing, replacement of dated dispatch equipment and dispatch radio system, specialized fire suppression system and select furniture,” Mr. Hugg said.

“These were all enhancements that determined to be critical to the full utilization of the property and the site.”

Moving-in date

Earlier this week, ever hopeful Police Chief Norman Wood said he believes officers and staff will be able to move into the new building by Jan. 31.

In early April 2015, officials said the building was scheduled to open by early to mid-August last year. Chief Wood said modifications to the original plan were needed to enhance security, including the installation of bullet-resistant glass within the facility at 325 W. Glenwood Ave.

“Things didn’t move as scheduled,” Chief Wood said. “Things had to be changed due to the times we live in.”

There’s keen interest throughout the northern Kent County town regarding completion of the 26,000-square foot project designed to meet the growing community’s need to preserve law and order.

“A lot of people are asking when it will be done,” Chief Wood said. “I give them the date (Jan. 31) and say I’ve got my fingers crossed and am being as optimistic as possible.”

The recent addition of asphalt to a previously mud-covered parking lot boosted the morale of staff, Chief Wood said.

“We knew we would have some heartache moving around things, but it’s well overdue now,” he said.

The new building will house 22 sworn police officers, seven full-time civilian employees and four citizens auxiliary patrol members. Smyrna is also testing for another police officer, officials said.

A holding facility remains under construction, with Delaware State Police Troop 9 and the Dover Police Department providing support if needed.

When completed, the new facility hopes to have the services of an information technology person on site, according to Chief Wood.

Smyrna Police is striving to gain accreditation by meeting Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies standards, which wouldn’t be possible without expansion, according to Chief wood.

Once operations shift to the new area, the old building will be gutted and remodeled for approximately 90 days, authorities said.

The current 4,900-square-foot police headquarters was constructed in 1988, a time when Smyrna had 12 officers serving a population of 3,500. Smyrna’s population is now approximately 11,000 with an increase in crime that comes with it, authorities said.

The new building plan was designed by Fearn Clendaniel Architects of Wilmington, with Smyrna’s i3a construction and management firm hired as the general contractor.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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