In early January, the town of Pineville will break ground on its new police station.
Mike Rose, Pineville's town administrator, said the groundbreaking ceremony will be held on the site in front of Jack Hughes Park directly off Main Street in downtown Pineville. Construction starts today.
"It will be a simple ceremony, but we are excited about it," said Rose.
Rose said the town has been working on getting a new station for two years, conducting facility studies and taking a detailed inventory of the police department's needs.
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He said the town is building a new station because the police department has grown out of its current location. Since 1995, the station has been located in downtown Pineville at 300 Main St. in a building once used as a bank.
"The building wasn't built to accommodate a police department," said Rose. "When it first opened we had 10 officers. Now we have almost 40 and need a new space."
The growing need for investigation and added police force also was a driving factor in building a new station, said Rose.
"We won't be hiring any new officers or staff right away," he said. "But in the future, maybe within the next couple of years, we will be hiring again."
Rose said that with the construction of two large subdivisions, the population will increase and the need for additional officers will rise. The two neighborhoods, Carolina Village with 330 houses and McCullough with 750 houses, will bring thousands of new residents to Pineville.
The new station, designed by the architectural firm Fryday and Doyne, will be 25,000 square feet and two stories high.
John Fryday, who founded the Southend neighborhood firm 17 years ago, said although it's not a large building, the station will have a strong presence.
"You will drive by and notice it," said Fryday. "We are going to give it a very civic feel so it will look like a government building."
He also said the firm felt it was important to keep the building in line with the historical integrity of downtown.
"We worked very hard to make it fit in with the downtown area," said Fryday. "We have an image in mind of the historic fabric of Pineville, but (the building) will also be contemporary because Pineville is a growing, modern town."
The station will cost $4.5 million and include space for interrogation rooms, storage and an area for the Pineville 911 dispatch center.
Police Chief Rob Merchant said he's been working on getting a new station for six years.
"I can't wait to move into the new facility," said Merchant. "It will increase safety for our officers and will increase police moral."
He also said the need for the facility isn't related to the fluctuation of crime in Pineville.
"Compared to the nation, violent crimes have gone down," said Merchant. "We have more retail crime than anything, but overall, Pineville is absolutely a safe town."
Construction is expected to be complete in 300 days.