Overcrowding, an aging facility and the need for greater security have prompted the Delaware State Police to plan a new headquarters for Troop 3.
The most recent step in the project was completed Aug. 13, with the acquisition of 20 acres of land for the new building on the northeast side of South State Street, approximately 1.5 miles northwest of Magnolia.
The current Troop 3 building, located south of Camden, was built in 1973 to house 40 troopers. It now supports 110 troopers and civilian support staff.
"It's really outlived its usefulness," said Sgt. Paul Shavack, public information officer for the Delaware State Police.
"We had to move a criminal investigation unit to a separate building just because the facility is old and outdated," Shavack said. This separation has made it more difficult for troopers and detectives to do their jobs as well as they'd like, he said.
The Delaware General Assembly allocated just under $6.75 million to start planning the new building in the Fiscal Year 2012 Bond Bill. An additional $6.5 million was approved in the current budget, bringing to total allocation to $13,339,200. The project is funded entirely with state monies.
Of that sum, approximately $9.2 million is planned for total construction costs including $400,000 for the land purchase, with $1.1 million set aside for planning and design work.
At almost 37,000 square feet, the new one-story building will triple the floor space available for Troop 3. Current estimates indicate the facility will be ready for occupancy in late 2014 or early 2015.
The Kent County Regional Planning Commission gave conditional approval to a site plan for the new building on May 9. Gregg Moore, of the Becker Morgan Group architectural firm, briefed commissioners on plans for the proposed facility. The police station will include a proposed maintenance building and 174 parking spaces, Moore said.
The site plan includes a six-foot-high fence that will cordon off the rear of the facility and a sally port to allow police to move prisoners in and out of the building.
A monument area will include flagpoles and a pedestrian walk to allow public access to the building, which features a community meeting area.
Moore said that landscaping would include more than 200 trees, 75 of which would be planted in the parking area and also used as a buffer along South State Street.
Because of budget constraints, some parts of the plan, such as the 8,315-square-foot maintenance building may be delayed until additional money becomes available, Moore said, leaving open the possibility the maintenance facility will continue in use at the current building. Plans also allow the state to retain use of the Camden building, possibly as a communications facility.
Shavack said the new headquarters will be a tremendous improvement over the current building.
Page 2 of 2 - "It's going to be a state-of-the-art facility with increased room and space to accommodate our increased staffing," he said.