LINCOLN — Lincoln police officers hope to be in their new headquarters in a converted school by next fall, said city Police Chief Paul Adams.
The City Council recently approved a $2.8 million bid from P.J. Hoerr Inc. of Peoria to renovate the former Jefferson Elementary School at 710 Fifth St. The city purchased the school for $75,000 in May 2016.
“Work has begun on the new police station and they have the demolition work complete,” Adams said. “At this time, they are filling in unneeded windows and doors and working on the sally port.”
The Lincoln Police Department currently shares facilities with the sheriff’s department in the Logan County Safety Complex near downtown Lincoln. It opened in May 1978 as a new, $1.68 million complex that replaced a 110-year-old building that houses the city and county jails.
The city, which pays $36,000 to rent about 1,600 square feet in the county's building, has been exploring plans to move to a new facility for several years, citing a lack of space as the main issue.
City officials plan to pay for the renovations with money from a utility tax passed in 2013.
“It looks like the timetable has us moving in sometime in August or September 2018 at this point,” Adams said.
The new facility will have about 15,000 square feet of available space. That should be plenty of space for evidence storage, officer locker areas, offices, a gun cleaning and storage area, training space and some holding cells, Adams said.
Prisoners still will be housed at the county jail.
The $2.8 million bid is in line with what officials expected to pay, but came after an initial round of bids was rejected. Nine bids were opened in May, but came in around $4 million. After removing some line items, such as a north parking lot and garage, the city found the bids to be acceptable.
Adams estimates there will be $460,000 in additional costs after construction that the city will be responsible for. Those would include furniture, engineering, survey fees, material testing, asbestos abatement, a communications tower and lighting costs.
“This will be the police station for the city of Lincoln for the next 100 years,” Adams said.