Thursday, April 22, 2010

Plans for Law Enforcement Center "Impressive"

Final plans for the town's new "Law Enforcement Center" were unveiled this week, showing an impressive 19,000-sq.ft. brick building with lots of glass and high quality metal trim made of zinc.

The energy-efficient design makes extensive use of natural light and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.

"When I saw this, I was really pleased," said Mayor Jody McLeod. "I like this plan. It will serve Clayton well for a long time." Counclman Bob Satterfield had one word for the plans: "Impressive."

Steve Schuster of design firm Clearscapes, PA, the new building's designer, said the structure, which includes extensive landscaping, should blend in nicely with other buildings in the area and add to the beauty of downtown. He said the Town Council's decision to move ahead with construction as soon as possible means "the pricing will be very attractive," taking advantage of a good construction environment.Town officials intend to seek competitive construction bids later in the spring, with construction beginning this summer. Schuster said the new building should take about a year to complete. "I'm really excited about this," said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis. "It can be a great asset to this community."

After years of planning, town officials decided last year to move ahead with the project after a report from Town Manager Steve Biggs warning that the town's highly regarded police force--which a few months ago became one of the few law enforcement agencies in the country to earn full accreditation--was "bursting at the seams" in their old 5,000-sq.ft building."For the last few years, we've paid a lot of attention to our law enforcement personnel, and now we're at a point where we need to look at facilities," he told the Council.
The complex will be financed through a low-interest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development loan. Town officials have been working over the last few years to strengthen the police department, adding programs and capabilities as well as encouraging officers to obtain advanced training. As a result, the town has what Biggs described as "a first-rate police department."

Over the last couple of years, the department added a Forensics specialist, formed a Community Action Team (CAT), added several new Neighborhood Watch programs, added a new "Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) laser radar and scene mapping device," initiated the new "Crime Stoppers" program and more officers earned their "Advanced Law Enforcement" certificates. As a result, the town is gaining a reputation for safety.

Schuster told the Council that "quality projects" like the complex and the recently opened Clayton Community Center "sets Clayton apart from other municipalities" in quality of growth.

Plans call for renovating the old police headquarters, which presently sits on a 1.18-acre site at the corner of S. Barbour and E. Second Streets. Two other buildings on the site, the old Fire Station and old Rescue building, have already been demolished to make way for the new construction. Another building, the historic "Blinson House," will be preserved and moved from the site. The town is presently seeking a partner to acquire and relocate the house.

To view final plans for the new Law Enforcement Center, please click here Law Enforcement Center plans.

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