A firearms training simulator, ample storage space and an office area for the chief of police are all features found in a design proposal for a new police station inside of a renovated town hall.
The Police Buildings Review Committee heard from Tecton Architects, a firm hires by the town to help complete a feasibility study for a public safety facility, on how the current town hall could be refurbished to meet the needs of the Wareham Police Department.
This design comes after the Select Committee voted to accept City Administrator Derek Sullivan municipal services redesign project between the Decas Building, the Multi Services Center and the Town Hall.
According to Sullivan’s plan, City Hall would house the police department.
“It’s not quite perfect,” said Jeffery McElravy, architect at Tecton, describing the proposed design for the police station. “There are still a few things we need to sort out.”
In its design, McElravy incorporates much of what the police department needs into the three-story building.
The ground floor of the building would contain a dispatch center, among other offices. The second floor of the building would house administrative areas, including the police chief’s office area, a conference room and document storage.
The basement would contain changing rooms, holding cells, a laboratory, evidence and weapons storage, and other secure areas.
What is now an auditorium and stage would become a training center and firearms training simulator under the new plan. The balcony above the auditorium would become a tiered briefing room, he said.
Two new additions that house vehicle bays and interrogation rooms would also be added to the building, he said.
According to McElravy, retrofitting an existing building comes with challenges. There are a number of small parts that can only be used for storage. He also said he wasn’t able to fit everything he wanted into the floor plan.
“I always say that designing a building is like putting together a puzzle, but the pieces of the puzzle have no shape,” he said. “When you do the same thing inside a box with constraints, it gets crazy.”
McElravy said he still needs to find space for a computer desk, laundry room and more.
Wareham Police Chief Walter Correia said he was ‘impressed’ with Tecton’s design but the company needs to take a closer look at the security of the proposed station concourse and release area prisoners.
Correia said the lobby, which is accessible to the public, offers little to separate it from more secure areas on the first floor of the building.
Additionally, the prisoner exit currently opens into the police parking lot, which is a secure area.
Tecton Architects will meet with the Police Buildings Study Committee on Thursday November 3 to present an updated plan for the proposed police station.