Santa Fe College will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for remodeling and expansion of the Police Department’s building at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at Building T at the Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville.
College administrators including President Jackson Sasser and Vice President for Advancement Chuck Clemons, as well as members of the Board of Trustees of Santa Fe College and the SF Foundation, are expected to attend.
“This remodeling and expansion will enable us to provide better service and increased safety for the whole college community while doubling our space,” explained SF Police Department Chief Ed Book. “When the project is finished, we will be better equipped to operate in emergencies such as tornadoes, power outages or floods. Our own staff will be better protected and we’ll have specific space instead of a common area where our patrol officers can conduct their investigations. One important feature will be separate, dedicated areas for interviewing victims and suspects. This provides a more dignified and compassionate way for us to interview victims and witnesses. Other improvements will include a separate evidence and property room.”
Built in 1974, the department’s current building originally housed the college’s bus shelter. Today, the 1,640-square-foot structure houses the police dispatch center, office and meeting spaces, and secure storage for evidence and equipment for the 25-person Police Department that operates around the clock. In times of crisis, the building also serves as the college’s emergency operations center.
Recognizing the need to improve the facility, SF allocated money in the 2015-2016 fiscal year to renovate the existing building. The college also planned to use Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) general maintenance funds to improve the electrical infrastructure.
After a thorough design process identified the full extent of the Police Department’s needs, the Board of Trustees approved a total project budget of $1,075,000 in October 2016. The building expansion—an addition to the south side of the existing building—will add 1,720 square feet, giving the department a total of 3,360 square feet of space.
“The fact that the college is using its own funds for this project rather than state or grant funds demonstrates the enormous value that President Sasser, our Board of Trustees, and top college officials place on safety and security for our college community,” Book said. “This project should serve us well for years to come. A completed facility will also enable us to begin a three-year process to receive accreditation from an organization such as the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.”
The Santa Fe College Board of Trustees gave final approval for the project at their meeting April 18, 2017. The architect/engineer is Kail Partners, LLC. The D. E. Scorpio Corporation will manage construction. The expected completion date is January 2018.
For more information about the Santa Fe College Police Department, the improvements that the renovation and expansion project will provide, and the law enforcement accreditation process, call Chief Ed Book at 352-395-5883.