For years, Holly Springs police officers would use the kitchen in the police department’s main office on West Ballentine Street for just about everything.
“I would go in to eat lunch, and there would be somebody sitting there with handcuffs on,” Police Chief John Herring said.
Officers also had to use the kitchen table to clean their handguns, leaving gun oil and dust behind where people would later sit down to eat, Herring said.
There was no room to process people who had been arrested and no room for officers to clean their handguns. Many other necessary rooms and amenities also were missing from the 5,000-square-foot facility.
But in February, the Holly Springs Police Department will be completely moved into its new home – a 28,000-square-foot, two-story law enforcement center at 750 Holly Springs Road that is more than five times larger than its former facility.
Herring said the center would be open to the public as soon as reception staff transfers to the new building, which is expected to be Monday, Jan. 18.
The move will bring together multiple police department operations that had been dispersed for years throughout town.
In addition to the former main office at 110 W. Ballentine St., the Holly Springs Police Department’s evidence room was in the basement of Town Hall at 128 S. Main St., and some of the officers worked out of a training room at Fire Station 2 at 1140 Avent Ferry Road.
The new building consolidates all of the operations under one roof.
“We just feel like this building is going to allow us to do our jobs and do it in a professional manner,” Herring said.
The project cost about $6 million, not including costs such as architect fees and furniture. It was paid for with a limited obligation bond that also funded needed traffic improvements on Avent Ferry Road. It was constructed by Monteith Construction Corporation of Wilmington and was designed by architectural firm Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects of Gastonia. The architects also designed Apex’s police station.
The two-story law enforcement center is expected to serve as the police department’s home for 20 to 30 years, or longer. Herring said the building was designed for 80 sworn officers. The department now has 51 officers, plus 18 other employees, including dispatch and animal control.
“We’ve got some room to grow,” he said.
The new facility houses a state-of-the-art 911 call center that is five times larger than the current one. The 911 call center at the Ballentine Street location was so small that police had to turn the men’s restroom into a unisex one so they could store servers in the women’s restroom.
“It was either there or in the middle of the floor,” Herring said.
A new law enforcement center has been a priority for Holly Springs for years.
In 2010, the town conducted a space analysis, which determined that the town’s current square footage per officer was extremely low, compared with national averages.
“What we found was that we had spaces that we didn’t need to expand, we just didn’t have them period,” Herring said. “A lot of the areas in (the new) building, we didn’t have at all.”
The new facility features an in-house training room, a weapons cleaning room, a SWAT team equipment storage room, plenty of office space, a room to store ammunition and more.
“In the other building, we had one broom closet,” Herring said. “We have so much storage in here that I get confused about which storage room is which.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon