WINSTON — The Winston Police Department is looking toward moving its offices from its current location at city hall to a new location on Northwest Rose Street — about a 5-minute walk down the street.
The building itself is not new, said Winston Police Chief Scott Gugel, but it’s spacious, along with its ability to provide a more secure location for the department made the building a clear fit.
Previously a library and a post office, the building at 131 N.W Rose St. provides nearly 2,500-square-feet of space on about a third of an acre in the heart of downtown Winston.
“It’s a good location for a police department,” Gugel said. “It gives us easy access from the center of the city, it provides more security and a little more space.”
The department is currently housed in city hall, sharing a roof with all of the other boards, councils and administrators of the city.
“The city itself needs a little more room,” Gugel said. “We’ve expanded city hall as much as we can and we’ve retooled and retooled again, but we all just need more room.”
Currently, some city committees or boards host their meetings at the community center or rent space at the fire department.
At the police department, the makeshift interview room more often serves as office space rather than a secure, private location to meet with suspects or victims, said City Manager Mark Bauer.
The vacant building will have to go through extensive construction work to convert the building to a facility suitable for the police department and its dozen employees.
“It’s just an open room right now,” Bauer said. “It will need lockers, squad rooms, conference rooms, trainings rooms, a lunch facility and a secured parking facility for squad cars.”
That secure parking lot is actually a big plus for the department, said Gugel, which spent thousands of dollars in 2016 to repair patrol cars that were targeted for vandalism.
The total cost of construction, dubbed “Phase 1,” which does not include any furnishings or additional equipment, is expected to cost the city $321,096. An earlier estimate, which rose above $480,000, was cut by 33 percent by postponing the construction of a 75 kilowatt standby generator and cutting nearly $38,000 of additional security features like exterior camera, intrusion detection technology and card access stations out of the budget.
“Those were some things that we could probably get at a lesser price at a later time,” Gugel said.
The project is still in its early phases with preliminary designs and estimates still on the horizon. Gugel said even once the plans are somewhat finalized the city will have to go through a public bidding process before construction can start.
“It has to go out to bid and all of the renovations have to be complete before we even think about moving a desk or an office over there,” Gugel said.
Funds for the renovation would come from the city’s Urban Renewal Agency, which most recently and most notably helped fund the Winston Core Project and its plan to rejuvenate Winston’s downtown economy.