Police barracks back on track Bids expected soon

construction would begin in spring

One-year delay is over

Full-service MVA will be built on site of old structure

December 22, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Construction of the new state police barracks in Westminster, delayed a year by the State Highway Administration's concerns over road design, is on target for a spring groundbreaking, authorities say.

Bids for construction are to be advertised soon and are expected back by the end of January, said William S. Ebere of the facilities management division of the Maryland State Police in Pikesville.

Weather permitting, construction could begin in March or April, meaning that the new 11,600-square-foot barracks might be completed by June 1999, Ebere said.

That would be about one year later than originally expected in 1995, when plans for the $2.7 million project were announced.

The new barracks, including a 4,500-square-foot garage, will be west of the current barracks, which was built in 1960.

Ebere said state highway officials wanted design changes for the roads -- those leading from a new entrance on Route 140 and those connecting the new barracks to a proposed Motor Vehicle Administration office -- before allowing the project to move forward.

"The new designs have been completed, and the [state] General Services Division is preparing to advertise the [construction] bids," Ebere said.

The land, a 4.6-acre parcel, is state-owned.

When the barracks and garage are completed, the old building and garage will be torn down to make way for a $570,000 Motor Vehicle Administration office.

That is due to be completed by December 1999, Jim Lang, spokesman for the MVA, said.

The 6,000-square-foot MVA office will be full-service, Lang said.

The local MVA office has been in the Westminster Professional Center, off Route 140 near Gorsuch Road, since 1979. It offers only driver services, such as road tests and license renewals.

Ebere said the new police facility is designed to provide flexibility for the busiest barracks in the state.

With its resident trooper program, Carroll County has the state's largest state police operation -- about 100 troopers and civilian staff members -- who handled more than 46,000 calls for service in 1996.

The resident trooper program, which costs Carroll taxpayers $3.4 million annually, operates under a cooperative agreement with the state to provide countywide law enforcement, investigative services and assistance to five municipal police forces and the county Sheriff's Department.

Ebere said the new building will have two holding cells instead of three because the third cell at the current barracks is seldom needed.

An extra meeting room will double as a third holding cell, he said. It will be equipped with video monitors and used, for example, to detain juveniles, who must be held out of sight and sound of adult prisoners.

"When it isn't needed for holding someone -- which will be most of the time -- it's a meeting room," Ebere said.

Pub Date: 12/22/97

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