By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (November 13, 2016) – While progress on the project has been slower than expected, renovation completion and relocation dates are in sight for the new headquarters of Tarleton Police Department and parking enforcement.
University Police Chief R. Matt Welch said the relocation is expected to occur in early April.
The new headquarters will be at the corner of university campus at the intersection of Frey Street and Harbin Drive. The building, which was acquired from the city in February 2014, is the former location of Stephenville Fire Station No. 2.
Welch said contractors are currently working on the interior of the building, but a number of aspects of the project are on hold until replacement of the roof is complete. Roofers are expected to begin their work this month.
Tarleton officials initially anticipated a December move-in date, but weather and asbestos remediation stalled the project.
Welch said the biggest benefit of the relocation will be increased visibility. Tarleton Police Department headquarters are currently located in a corner of Wisdom Gym, making it hard for anyone not familiar with the campus to locate the offices.
Looking at overall improvements to safety on campus, Welch said the facility will have a large backup generator, ensuring the department is operating at full capacity at all times. He said it will also serve as a secondary emergency operations center in case of natural disaster or other emergencies.
Welch also said the department is in the process of becoming an accredited agency through the Texas Police Chief’s Association, and building renovations will meet the agency’s requirements and guidelines.
When the project was announced in February, university officials said the former fire station’s drive-through bay area would be enclosed to create offices for police and parking department personnel and a reception area for visitors.
The building project also includes the creation of conference and break rooms, evidence and file storage and offices for police department administration. The renovated fire station will provide approximately 4,300 square feet of space.
The department is authorized to staff 17 officers, and Welch said the headquarters will also house four full-time parking office employees and a handful of student workers.
Once the relocation of the police department is complete, its current Wisdom Gym space will provide additional space for the Department of Kinesiology and Tarleton Athletics.