MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - It will take several weeks before employees and officers will be completely moved in at the new Murfreesboro police headquarters.
The new 136,000 square feet building is located at 1004 North Highland Avenue, and was recently made available to the public for an open house last week.
Chief Michael Bowen said the department is still in the process of moving equipment in but hopes it will be fully operational by June.
The new $55.8 million facility would replace a 45-year-old building on South Church Street and facilitate 320 employees, including 260 sworn officers, under one roof.
"The older facility has served us well but it was time to move on to something larger. It has been a long process but I think the end result is a good and positive result for our community," Chief Bowen said.
The new located used to be the Murfreesboro Medical Clinic and is more than four-times the size of the Church Street location.
The police chief gave NewsChannel 5 a personal tour of the three-story facility.
Major highlights of the new headquarters include: an upgraded communications center, a community room that can host crime prevention meetings, training events and press conferences, and an adjacent training room that will serve hundreds of officers.
The department will now have designated interview rooms for victims and a vehicle exam room that will allow investigators to process vehicles of different shapes and sizes in several bays.
The new facility also has state-of-the-art crime labs to collect evidence and an upgraded emergency operation center with individualized spaces.
In addition, there is a training simulator where officers can learn and review how to react to more than 120 different scenarios inspired by real-life incidents presented on 320-degree panels.
"We are really wanting to concentrate on being able to train officers on all different levels of force," Bowen said.
City officials said the new headquarters and its features will better serve the community as the city continues to grow rapidly.
The current population is estimated to be more than 128,000 -- a stark contrast to when the Church Street location was built in the early 70s with a population of less than 30,000.
"If the population growth stays consistent, we're looking at 17 years probably expanding to 400 officers. We had to take that into consideration when we built this facility," Bowen added.
The cost to build the new headquarters increased from an initial $32.6 million plan in 2012 to $55.4 million.
The city adjusted the Capitol Improvement Plan budget four times between 2012 and 2018.
When the city council approved the 2012 CIP, the project had a rough estimate of $32 million based on 125,000 square feet of proposed building at $232 per square foot. The estimate only counted for construction, architect and engineering fees, and equipment and furniture. It did not reflect costs from land acquisition, demolition, professional proposals or bids.
In 2014, the city council approved $5.7 million for the purchase of the property and award the design contract to the architect.
The following year, there was $6.4 million to revise the construction estimate based on recommendations from the architect's estimate of cost. In 2016, $4.4 million was used to revise the architect's estimate again.
In 2018, $6.2 million was used for the final adjustment to match the total cost of the project. When including the bonds to fund the headquarters, the total cost was $55.8 million.