The Rockville City Council on Monday broke ground on work that will convert the former U.S. Post Office in Town Center to a new home for the city’s police force.
City Council members and city staff joined U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington, city police Chief Terrance N. Treschuk and representatives of Costello Construction in turning a few ceremonial shovelfuls of earth to mark the project's start.
The project’s $8.6 million cost includes design, equipment and moving police operations from their current home in the bottom floor of City Hall to the building at the corner of South Washington Street and West Montgomery Avenue.
The new headquarters will house all of the current police force and will allow for 10 percent future growth.
It includes a $6.4 million renovation to the 11,415-square-foot historic building and construction of a 14,538-square-foot freestanding annex building on the site’s southwest corner.
The city will put a state bond bill of $100,000 and a state grant of $219,875 toward the project. The city also is anticipating a $224,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover the cost of an emergency generator to provide electricity to the police station in the event of an outage.
The contract also includes $405,000 for add-ons including evidence storage lockers, a blast-resistant curtain wall system and personnel and storage lockers.
The renovation is expected to take 16 to 18 months.
But representatives of Costello Construction have said that the project could be complete in as short as 14 to 15 months, Treschuk said in an interview on Monday.
Several fixtures of the building’s historic post office lobby will remain, including a bank of post office boxes and a mural depicting Sugarloaf Mountain painted on the wall over the boxes, Treschuk said. Granite counters and service windows will also remain for use by citizens coming to the station to request records or a dog license.
“People will go up to the exact same window they used to go up to for postal service,” Treschuk said.
The building was deeded to the city by the federal government at no cost on the condition that it be used permanently for a homeland security purpose.