The Town Council heard a presentation by Mayor John Rodolico and architect Brian Humes regarding the proposed new police station Wednesday.
Rodolico said he will be making three decisions that are interconnected - whether or not to transition to an independent police department, to keep the current Ledyard emergency dispatch center or to go with a regionalized center, and, how to provide an acceptable facility for the department.
"I think it's a matter of time before we go to an independent police force," he said.
The current facility at 11 Lorenz Parkway was purchased in 1998 and much of it has been retrofitted although parts of the building are 115 years old, according to Rodolico. It is estimated that they'd need $256,000 "to bring it up to some level of adequacy."
"We want to plan a facility that meets today's needs and tomorrow's needs," said Brian Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects. "We tend to look out 20 years ahead."
A glimpse into the future reveals a department growing from 27 sworn officers and dispatchers to 30.
Viable sites under consideration are the former fire house in the center of town next to Town Hall, a spot on J. Alfred Clark Way and the Former Gales Ferry School.
Humes said in order to accommodate the needs of today and tomorrow, the Building Committee settled on a 12,131 square-foot building, which needs a piece of property just under 2 acres.
"In our opinion we had two sites that rose to the top and two sites that fell to the bottom," he said.
In their opinion, the Fairway Drive site did not have enough build-able property due to wetlands and active wells. The firm deemed the former Gales Ferry school as problematic in several areas, although the Building Committee wants to keep it on the roster. So, Humes showed the Town Council plans to have the police station built next to Town Hall in place of the former fire station and on J. Alfred Clark Way.
Humes said the both sites satisfy the needs of the police department and that the former firehouse comes with the potential for some "land taking" he said "in order to square off the back of the property and accommodate some more parking."
The Town Hall site is coincidentally located on a near-identical slope so the building and layout is basically the same on both sites.
Rodolico and some town councilors expressed a preference for a centralized police station.
"We have and we want to continue to maintain a village feel," said Councilor Bill Saums.
Councilors Sharon Wadecki and Steve Eichelberg echoed Saums' preference of locating the building in the center of town despite the greater anticipated cost.
"I really think its important to have a visible police presence," concurred Rodolico. "and it's worth the cost in reducing the curb cuts."
Humes hopes to provide site costs, building costs and a comparative cost analysis Monday. Humes said the firm has been specializing in public safety and police projects for 16 years and Humes himself has designed over 60 police stations throughout New England.
The Municipal Building Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the Board of Education's Conference Room.