Old generator stalls opening of Police Service Center

By Daniel Hernandez, Advocate Staff

Anticipation and curiosity grew around campus in the 2018 fall semester when several modular buildings were put into place by a towering crane in front of the Gymnasium.

The nearly $3 million Police Services Center was expected to open in February and is near completion, but one last obstacle is standing in the way from its grand opening.

A stand-alone generator currently feeds power to the building until there are some repairs made to the aging electrical equipment meant to power the station.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said, “This was an unforeseen issue that came about. The project was supposed to tie into the existing switch gear, which is supposed to be replaced as part of the project. However, they weren’t quite ready for it to be replaced yet because the company isn’t starting until May.”

The athletic and Gymnasium complex is currently under renovation also, which is estimated to take 14 months. The aged equipment was destined to be replaced, but that might be done sooner by the construction company in a rush to get Police Services relocated and open at its new location next to the Gym.

All the progress done seems promising and has met the expectations of the contractors, even furnishings such as chairs and tables are already inside.

“They checked it yesterday for air conditioning and heating and it passed. They had several punch-walks going through the building and it looks really good on the inside,” King said.

There will be plenty of improvements ready at the new building including a dedicated locker room and rest room.

At the Buildings and Grounds Building where they are currently stationed, police and aides have to walk over to the adjacent building for the rest room and locker room.

District Police Services Chief Ed Carney said, “The new space provides officers with brighter and modern work space, locker facilities and areas that permit proper storage of equipment.”

He said he is excited for the opening of the new center and believes that relocating to a more central part of campus will better suit accommodations and be more convenient to keeping security and safety of the people on campus.

There will also be a better sense of security, Carney said.

“Our dispatch center will be state-of-the-art with camera monitoring stations to increase campus safety. The higher visibility of our station helps to assure those we serve that we are part of this community and our primary goal is to be vigilant and available,” he said.

King said, “It’s a nice upgrade for the campus and for them. If they’re in better shape, then hopefully it provides us (improved) safety and security for the campus which we all want.”

He said the change will be “day and night” and will be way better than the “cramped closet” like atmosphere the police are in at the moment.

What will occupy the space after they move has not been decided yet.

There’s a chance the temporary buildings will be demolished in the future to make way for a more welcoming eastern entrance to the campus coming from Mills Avenue.

With no date set, Buildings and Grounds expects to open the Police Services Center sometime in April or May.

The delayed timeline led to a discussion of if they should move in the middle of the semester or over the summer when the transition will be less demanding.

Nursing major Mahleek Jackson said, “Most people have classes in the Applied Arts or General Education buildings, so police can survey the cars for any break-ins and any stuff like that.”