SPD reviewing temp. move options

By: 
Austin Montgomery
City Reporter

Before construction starts in renovating the Starkville Police Department headquarters, officials must find a secure location for all staff, documents and equipment.
The department is reviewing options to temporarily relocate to a vacant second floor space at City Hall, the activities room at the Starkville Sportsplex, Fire Station 5 and the SPD firing range near the George M. Bryan Airport, according to Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman.
No construction date is set.
"We are hopeful the construction start date will be some time in mid-to-late July," Wiseman said. "Once we get closer to that date, I am sure their plans will become more firm."
The project took a step forward May 3 after aldermen voted 5 to 2 in favor of a 1-mill tax increase to net the needed $2.4 million in the project's overall $5.4 million budget. In April, a state appropriations request failed to secure the needed funds, prompting the tax increase. The millage hike will take effect after aldermen set the new rate in the fall at the start of the next fiscal year.
The move forward was hailed by city leaders as a "golden leaf in the city's history book," according to Ward 6 Alderman-Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins.
The building—at 101 E. Lampkin St.—was vacated by all city employees in November after a new City Hall was built and allowed SPD to take over the entire facility. Formerly a Mississippi National Guard outpost, the structure was granted historic status and given to the city in the 1960s. Drainage, sewage and other infrastructure problems plague the current location.
Renovations will include a renovated second floor, youth court services, all code updates along with a slew of exterior work including paving and striping with protected parking and a new sally port. The roof would be resurfaced and waterproofed under the current plan. ADA access would be moved to the front of the facility, project officials said.
A motion to house SPD staff temporarily in the vacant civic space was brought forward by Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn at the May 17 board meeting, but no vote was taken on the matter.
SPD Chief Frank Nichols and high-ranking staff agreed the vacant municipal space would be sufficient in fulfilling department needs during the construction process, according to the motion.
The SPD project has a tentative completion date of early April 2017. Construction documents could be prepared at the end of the month, request for contractor proposals in June and in early July, a notice to proceed could be issued on the 10-month project timeline, according to project architect Gary Shafer.
Temporarily relocating department staff to a private facility would be "cost factors to our city's budget that should not be incurred for temporary space considering there is available space," Wynn said in the motion.
Wynn presented a preliminary budget that estimated it would cost around $35,000 at most of construct the temporary SPD command center at the May 17 meeting. Costs could go towards adding privacy walls, electrical updates, light and computer wiring to the vacant area of City Hall, according to officials.
Funds to add a secure fiber connection to Fire Station 5 could be too costly, prompting officials to look for funding sources to relocate officers to City Hall, according to an emailed statement by Wynn.
Funding for the temporary move could come from the mayor's miscellaneous fund, the technology fund and leftover funding from the city staff relocating to a new building, Wynn said in the statement.
"I am confident that they're going to be able to manage that relocation period in a satisfactory manner," Wiseman said.
Wynn plans to bring a resolution forward at the next board meeting, according to an emailed statement.
Aldermen will meet again at 5:30 p.m., on June 7 in the Municipal Courtroom of City Hall.

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