Costly changes to Opelika Municipal Court building

Changes coming to new Opelika Police Department building

OPELIKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Opelika City Council recently approved costly changes to the new Opelika Police Department Headquarters and Municipal Court building project.

"We decided that we're going to move the council meetings from the current location at city hall to the new municipal building and so we're going to have to refit the municipal building," says Opelika City Council President, Eddie Smith.

The change costs nearly $400,000.

Opelika Mayor, Gary Fuller, says that the courtroom would now be used multiple times per week, and that this change will keep the city from having to renovate multiple buildings.

"So, we had talked about doing some renovations both at City Hall and at Public Works. Then we start thinking about the courtroom that’s only used one day a week," Fuller says. "It’s going to have a lot more room so part of the change order is so the city council can meet there, the planning commission can meet there. Plenty of parking, certainly secure being next-door to the police department so the whole facility is going to be up-to-date modern and then we’ll be able to expand the use of the courtroom.”

Officials say the change will be covered by the city's contingency fund, but still chose to file the official change order to keep taxpayers in the loop.

“We have a judiciary responsibility to manage the taxpayers money, so the important thing was for it to be transparent,” Eddie Smith says.

The project total is an estimated $18.5 million.

The police department will begin moving into their part of the building in August.

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