OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - The Opelika Police Department is going to have a new place to call home. Construction is currently underway on the new police headquarters.
City leaders officially broke ground Wednesday on the construction site of the new building.
"We've been in this old facility for many, many years. Its been added onto and it's been kinda piece mill and it's got part of an old jail in it. So our officers, our fine police officers, our court personnel, they deserve a new facility," said Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.
This project is a big financial commitment for the city and will take some time to complete.
"It's going to take about 18 months and it's about an $18 million project," said Fuller.
Officials say that the current building has served its purpose, but now the officers need more space.
"The total square footage is 37,000 square feet. Our current facility is only about 21 or 22,000 square feet, so we are gaining a sizable increase. Just the added space is the key thing. Obviously we are going to have more room for the patrol officers, more room for our evidence storage and retention, but again its the added space which is long overdue and we are so excited to get started with the new project. With expansion and growth of the police department and the way that Opelika is growing, we've just really been working on top of each other here and the added space is going to be a tremendous benefit to each and every one of us," said Opelika Police Chief John McEachern.
During the construction period, there will be limited public access to the current building.
Opelika police will stay in the current building until construction on the new building is complete. After police move into the new headquarters, the current facility will be torn down and a parking lot will be in its place.