DeKALB – The new DeKalb police station is 60 percent finished, and should be complete by November, the city official overseeing the project says.
Public Works Director T. J. Moore said he believes the new police station at 700 W. Lincoln Highway will be finished in November.
“It feels like a building now. It doesn’t feel like a construction project any more,” Moore said. “You really see how it’s coming together.”
In 2012, the DeKalb City Council approved borrowing $12.7 million to pay for the construction of the new police station, effectively capping the total cost of the project.
Moore said the brick facade on the front of the building is being assembled. Inside the two-story building, the elevator has been installed and 70 percent of the drywall work is done.
Moore described the building as being a showpiece for the city.
“To be fair, this is kind of the future of DeKalb,” Moore said. “We’re showing off not only who we are but who we’re going to be.”
Both Moore and DeKalb police Cmdr. Jason Leverton described the building as having a major effect on modernizing the police force.
“One of the most significant features is a much-improved booking and intake for prisoners, and how we house prisoners,” Leverton said.
Leverton said the new department will have a separate booking area with its own entrances and exits. The cells in the new building will have concrete benches and secured handcuff holders.
The current police station occupies the first floor of the municipal building at 200 S. Fourth St.
City officials have discussed renovating the municipal building once the police department moves into its new station. The renovations will allow the public works and information technology departments to move back in. Those departments are currently located across the street at 223 S. Fourth St.
To that end, the City Council also approved a $57,925 proposal in 2012 to examine the building before any remodeling is done. Moore noted the entire first floor of City Hall is dedicated to the police station.
“That space is not conducive to police work ... but it’s certainly not conducive to offices,” Moore said. “No one in the building department needs jail cells.”
The building study, which is due this summer, will present to the council with different concepts for remodeling City Hall, Moore said.
To fund the remodeling, city officials have considered the city’s tax increment financing accounts. While TIF funds are usually used to redevelop private property in blighted areas, it can also be used for existing public facilities.
The city staff has put in placeholders totaling $4.6 million in TIF funds over the next several years for the remodeling. Moore stressed that these are placeholders, and have not been approved by the City Council.
“It’s up to the purview of the City Council on what gets done,” Moore said.