Continuing rain has delayed completion of the move.
The recent rainfall hitting Western North Carolina has put a damper on the Sylva Police Department's plan to move into its new location on Main Street in Sylva. Originally, the police station had hoped to begin moving into its new location, which is the former site of Jackson County's Library, on Monday, but record rainfall has delayed plans and according to Sylva's Chief of Police, Davis Woodard, the move will hopefully be completed by this weekend.
“Although the rain has slowed us down a bit, we plan to hopefully start moving furniture on Wednesday, and be operating out of the new location by Friday,” said Woodard.
The six-month long renovation process which began in July 2012, has come to the end and all that is left to do is move in some tables and chairs and switch over the phone lines. “It has taken approximately 200 days to fully renovate the new location. We basically gutted the building. The old library building is the best building to get what we want out of a new station.”
According to Woodard, the new building will provide the police department with much needed operating space. “A prime example of how the new location is better suited for our needs is the current police station's lobby is a 6’ x 8’ room with two chairs. If you get more than two people in at a time, it is crowded,” explained Woodard. “The new station's lobby will be 13’ x 18’ and will be able to seat six people comfortably.”
The current station offers about 1,200 sq. ft. and has been in use by the police department since 1989. The new building will stand at a much more accommodating 6,400 sq. ft. In addition to extra leg room, the new station will feature a training room that will be used for continuing education courses, explained Woodard.
“The training room will be able to be utilized by other law enforcement agencies such as the State Highway Patrol, Wildlife Enforcement Officers, and the ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement). These other agencies will be able to use our facilities for meetings or training whenever they are available.”
The expansion also includes a private interview room, a report room, locker room and an exercise room for officers.
According to Woodard, one addition that will increase the police station's efficiency is the new evidence room. “Currently, we use three different rooms to store evidence,” he noted. “The new station will have one evidence room that will accommodate our needs and allow us to consolidate everything.”
Parking for the police station will be split between the back of the building, which allocates 15 spaces for officers, and according to Woodard, three spaces in front of the building will be designated for visitors to the station.
The new station will allow Sylva PD a stronger downtown presence with easy access to the small businesses on Main Street. “I think in every town the police department should be the center of town,” said Woodard. “When you first pull on to Main Street, the Police Department will be the second building you see, right after the Chamber of Commerce welcoming visitors to town.”
Renovations to the building have been estimated at a cost of $885,000. The building was acquired farrly inexpensively in an old fashioned barter between county and town officials. In May 2011, Jackson County officials agreed to trade the old public library, which was appraised for $796,000, with the Town of Sylva for the former Chamber of Commerce building, which was appraised as $157,560.