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March 17, 2014

COPS WITH A NEW SHOP: New JPD headquarters to have more space, on target for Aug. 1 opening

JEFFERSONVILLE — The new Jeffersonville Police Department headquarters on 10th Street is well on its way to becoming a reality, giving police officers and staff members more room in one central location.

Chief Chris Grimm said that despite cold temperatures delaying some construction work, the department’s opening date is still slated for Aug. 1.

“They are working on construction as usual,” Grimm said. “The weather has been a little harsh this winter, so it’s pushed it back a bit.”

Clinton Deckard of ConstructionSolutions LLC — project manager for the new $11 million station — said that construction crews will be working on make-up days to stay on track.

Workers have poured about 30 or 40 percent of the slab for the building and are in the process of setting structural steel, which should be complete in the next week or two. They are also working on plumbing, electric and heating and cooling systems, Deckard said.

The new building will be about 27,000 square feet on five acres, plus a 5,600 square-foot high-ceiling garage, said Chad Cunningham, senior project manager at ConstructionSolutions LLC.

The building will also run on geothermal cooling and heating, which uses wells to tap into the earth’s natural heating system. Other environmentally friendly measures such as automatic lights will be incorporated, all of which make the utilities bill cheaper.

“We’re looking to save money and to make it a little more green just to try to help out with costs over the life of the building,” Grimm said.

Cunningham said the station will feature a physical agility room and also a room with a $75,000 Ti Training simulator, an immersive video game-like simulator that trains officers for hundreds of on-the-scene scenarios.

Nathan Samuel, city councilman who is the liaison for the police department, said the scenarios are projected on an entire wall and users are given a laser-pointing gun to practice with.

“It’s very real to life,” Samuel said. “It gets your heart rate going.”

The program might also be rented out to other forces to use, possibly generating some revenue.

In addition to these training rooms, the new station will have storage rooms for evidence and equipment.

Having officers in the same building as evidence and equipment — which are both housed in separate warehouses now —was a big pull for the new station.

“One of the main benefits is it gets all of that under one roof. We really had issues when the Henryville tornadoes hit,” Grimm said, of coordinating officers with equipment and evidence located in different locations. “ ... It takes time to get all of that to one centralized location.”

Samuel said the project is being paid for with bonds. The city council is contributing $250,000 annually from LOIT, or Local Option Income Tax, money that is usually designated for public safety. The rest is being paid for with TIF, or Tax Increment Financing, by the Redevelopment Commission.

He said he has high hopes for the new station.

“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art building,” Samuel said.

Another reason the city decided on a new facility was the current one on the first floor of Jeffersonville City Hall was getting a little tight for the 80 or 90 officers and staff members.

Grimm said the office space they have now is about 4,000 square feet, a space the force has “significantly outgrown.”

“It’s just getting us to a more functional space,” he said.

Mayor Mike Moore said that the location on 10th Street is more in the heart of Jeffersonville, especially with the newly annexed areas.

“It’s a good central location,” Moore said, adding that there will be space in the building for public meetings. “ ... We want the community more involved, we want them more aware of what the police department can do and already does.”

Moore said he sees this project as a long-term investment for the city.

“This is something that will take Jeffersonville into the next generation,” Moore said.

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Families enter Renaissance Academy, Clarksville Community Schools' New Tech high school, for an open house on July 17. Much of the construction is finished on the building, with classes beginning on July 31.

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