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New police department talks continue in Tupelo

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — The Tupelo Police Department is one step closer to getting new headquarters after Tuesday's city council work session.

Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre and an architect from JBHM met with the council to lay out preliminary plans and costs for the new multi-million dollar building.

Nearly seven years ago, the city gave its first nod of approval to the idea of a new police headquarters, and in January, that dream came closer to a reality as Aguirre began the planning stages with JBHM.

"We've been visiting with each department," Aguirre said. "Our architects have set down with our command staff and other departments to see what plan best benefits our needs."

The current headquarters was built in 1966, and officers said it's time for an update. They'll build the new facility on a four acre lot on Front Street, and it will cost just under $10 million.

But that wasn't always the price. It first started at $8.9 million, jumped to $10 million and then increased to $11 million.

That's when Mayor Jason Shelton and the council finally drew the line at $10 million.

At Tuesday's work session, Aguirre and the architect answered that call, with a total budget of $9.9 million.

"They've all done a good job of getting the project back under the $10 million figure," Shelton said. "I think they're on the right track with it."

The total square footage on the facility will be 38,150, which comes with all the essentials like a crime lab, evidence room and a work-out facility for officers.

There's also enough space for 10 to 20 years of growth.

"Now we're gonna move on to the design phase in 60 days or so," said Councilman Lynn Bryan. "We're gonna have the drawings back for the public to see at that time."

"By the fall of 2015, it's possible that we could actually be turning that key to walk into a new police department," Aguirre added.

The city council will vote to approve project funding at the first council meeting in May.





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