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City police to have new H.Q. soon
Renovation of the Brunswick Police Department headquarters on Mansfield Street is on schedule, the architect for the project has reported to the city commission.

Renovations and construction haven't been easy, said Doug Neal, the architect, but things are moving toward the estimated May completion date.

The downtown building has housed the department for 72 years and hasn't seen significant renovations since 1974. Leaks and cosmetic problems need to be repaired, and cramped offices need more space.

The older building also presented its challenges. Its crawl space has to be entered from the top of the building, making it difficult for workers to safely get inside.

"We found out a lot of things about that building," Neal said.

Mechanical, electrical and drywall work has been completed, Neal said.

He anticipates the buildings will have heating and air conditioning within the month.

"Everything is designed to be as maintenance free as possible," Neal said.

Plans call for renovating the interior of the building, with a major focus on opening up the floor plan for more offices and space for storage, and constructing a new building for the detectives unit.

Brunswick Police Chief Tobe Green is eager to get the department back together.

"We're so scattered at this moment. It would be good to get back to the main building and get everything back under one roof," Green said.

Though Green will keep his office at a city annex building at 503 Mansfield St., two blocks away from the headquarters building, and the department will continue to maintain precincts throughout the city, Green estimates about 75 percent of operations will conducted in the facility.

"We're really moving on this project and, of course, all of the officers are excited about it because it's going to add some space we've been needing for quite a while," Green said.

Some amenities the new buildings will feature may seem trivial, Green said, but they'll do a lot to boost department morale.

"We have never had, since I've been here in my 28 years, anything as simple as a break room," Green said.

Money for the $1.35 million project is coming from revenue collected from an expired Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police called the building unsuitable for police operations in 2007.

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