By MATT KOESTERS
Work on renovations and upgrades at the Clarksville Police Department headquarters will begin Jan. 1, according to town officials.
The Clarksville Redevelopment Commission awarded a $1.177 million contract to New Albany-based Upton Pry Inc. at a meeting Thursday.
“We were fortunate,” said Bob Popp, a Clarksville town councilman and president of the redevelopment commission. “There were probably at least seven bidders on the project.”
In addition to restoring the floors, painting the interior walls and replacing the ceiling tiles, Upton Pry will also add approximately 4,400 square feet to the building, said Heather Graninger with Kovert Hawkins, a Louisville-based architecture firm.
“Part of that addition will be designated for supplemental storage for the town hall derpartments, and then for the police there’s a variety of spaces,” Graninger said. “They’re getting a new vehicle-bay area, and we’re expanding their existing conference room into a larger training facility for them, as well as a command center.”
This is the first time any major work has been done on the building since its original construction, Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said.
“When the department was originally designed, there was no room to grow,” Palmer said. “Since that time period, we have grown. We’ve added more officers. We’re involved in more things in the community, and the renovation is going to not only cover where we’re at, but also where we hope to be in the future.”
The addition of training space will save the department on travel expenses associated with attending training sessions in other cities, Palmer said.
“We’ll be able to bring the trainers to us instead of having to go to the trainers,” Palmer said.
Several upgrades will be made to the building’s property room, which Palmer said has poor lighting and has had problems with birds entering through the garage area. Part of the new addition will include an evidence wall, which is a system of lockers that Palmer says will improve storage, processing and safekeeping of evidence.
The investigation into the recent murder of Billy Ray Chambers has been hampered by the need to send evidence to other agencies for processing, and the Clarksville police are still awaiting the return of evidence from the case. Palmer said that the department will have room inside the new department for the equipment it needs to handle processing evidence in crimes similar to the Chambers murder on its own.
“That’s been the biggest problem here, that we don’t have any storage room,” Palmer said.
The work is expected to take about 200 calendar days, Graninger said.
“The renovation work inside their existing building will be completed in a second-shift timeframe, so the majority of the staff will be vacant at that time,” she said. “That will [cause] minimal interference to their department.”