After years of planning, community leaders are breaking ground on a new police station in Van Buren.
The new 21,000 square foot police station is being built on Fayetteville Road with construction starting Thursday (March 6).
Voters approved a sales tax initiative in 2012 to fund building the nearly $3.5 million facility. The new station will be three times the size of the existing location, which officers have occupied since the early 1990s.
Police Chief Kenneth Bell said the size of the force has doubled since then with about 65 people working for the department today. According to Chief Bell, the new building will allow the department to house all its services in one central location.
"We have our training room across the street, and we have some of our evidence stuff in the building adjacent to us,” Chief Bell said. “The new police department, all that's going to be contained in one building, so it's going to be more convenient and more secure for us at the new location."
The project will be under construction for about a year. The dispatch center in the new police station will also double as a safe room to ensure the safety of employees as they work through severe weather events.