Baltimore's search for a new location for its Police Academy has been narrowed to two sites -- the old Signet Bank Operations Center downtown and the former Waverly Press building in East Baltimore.
The Police Academy has to vacate the former Colts football training complex in Owings Mills by March 1 so the facility can be prepared for use by the Cleveland Browns, in anticipation of the team playing in Baltimore in the fall.
The academy trains 200 to 300 police recruits each year and provides annual training for the Police Department's approximately 3,000 officers.
The Board of Estimates yesterday approved spending $300,000 to fix the roof of the former Waverly Press building at 428 E. Preston St., which the city owns.
But police officials also are eyeing the vacant Signet Bank Operations Center in the 200 block of Guilford Ave., a short walk from Police Department headquarters on East Fayette Street, and are negotiating with the building's owners on a rental agreement with an option to buy.
"We're still looking at both sites," police spokesman Sam Ringgold said yesterday. "The bank building is in move-in condition. Waverly requires some renovation and repair work. That's what's being debated now."
Last year, the city considered buying the Signet building, which was on the market for $3.9 million, as a money-saving alternative to building an annex to police headquarters. But the city decided to go ahead with the $10.8 million annex, designed to relieve crowding, after police officials said the Signet building would not meet their needs.
The old Waverly Press building has been vacant since last spring, when the medical publishing firm moved to new headquarters at Camden Yards.
As part of a package of incentives to keep the company in Baltimore, the city agreed to buy the Preston Street complex for $500,000.