Renovation of the former Municipal Building for use by the Police Department will see a larger records area as well as double reception area. Seen from the inside, the window on the left will be a soft lobby area separated from the hard lobby area for privacy and security. The general public will have access to the hard lobby area, the two windows to the right. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

A local police department is closer to moving into improved offices

With second- and third-floor rooms of the Municipal Building now framed in and with drywall in place, Lt. Geoff Robinson said he is optimistic they can move into those floors by the second week of February. The full project is expected to be finished by June 1.

“The staff’s been patient with the saws and blades,” he said. “Everyone has gotten numb to the noise. It’s like living next to railroad tracks, after a while you don’t hear it anymore.”

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It is the second phase of the expansion of city office space. First, the administrative offices were moved out of the building and relocated on College Avenue in the former Lane Library building. Then, work began to remodel the former Municipal Building for use by the Police Department, expanding from cramped space in the basement.

The part the public will most often see — the reception area — will be offer two sections. A “hard lobby” will be open all the time for public access and separated by a door from a “soft lobby” which will provide more privacy for those needing to deal with sensitive issues as well as providing a separation from someone else in the case of a conflict. There will also be a public restroom.

Beyond that will be the secure area for police operations, including a training room which will hold 24 people and could double as a roll-call room as officers report for their shifts.

Also nearby will be a sergeants’ office, where each one will have a desk and workspace and privacy.

“Sergeants have always kind of gotten what’s left. If we get new furniture, it eventually finds its way down to the sergeants’ office,” Robinson said.

The second floor will house the investigations suite and the administrative suite. On the detective side, there will be two interview rooms, the detective sergeant’s office and a major case room. The hard interview room will have the usual metal table and chairs while the soft interview room for witnesses and victims will be more comfortable. Both will have one-way glass windows for outside viewing.

There will be a conference room in the rear part of that side of the second floor with a 14-person table.

“We will be able to hold administrative meetings there. Now, we have to go off-site, the firehouse or a business location, the library,” he said. “It will be nice to host things here and be proud of where we have gotten as an agency.”

The remodeling effort will restore some parts of the building to the way they used to be, including the addition of a Sally Port, a garage at which police cars can enter the building to unload prisoners, a security improvement over the current need to do so in the alley and walk into the building. Years ago, that part of the building was a garage housing the Oxford Fire Department vehicles before the current Elm Street facility was opened.

Roof tiles are being restored and a brick mason has been at work restoring the bricks which had been showing their age. Windows will look the same as before, preserving that appearance, although the glass will be weather tight.

“We put in a lot of effort in making sure the exterior remains the same,” Robinson said. “The bricks are in great shape but are being cleaned and scrubbed with tuckpointing.”

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