Police station designs offer vision for future

Published 6:15 pm Thursday, August 27, 2020

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Since Hurricane Florence flooded its previous home on West Third Street in 2018, the Washington Police Department has kept its headquarters at a rental property on John Small Avenue. But with plans presented for a new police station during a special meeting of the Washington City Council on Wednesday, the department is one step closer to having a permanent home.

Sharing a presentation with council, Mosley Architects Vice President Josh Bennett offered a vision for a police headquarters that blends modern conveniences with a traditional architectural style that will mesh with the historic character of downtown Washington.

“Back in March, we discussed keeping with the City of Washington’s style,” Bennett said. “We looked at many of your buildings, including the existing administration building, existing libraries, the courthouses and the small lawyer’s office (on Second Street). We took some elements from each of those and rounded it into what is a strong Federal style and even slightly Neo-Classical style.”

During the meeting, the council reviewed two conceptual designs for the station, opting for a one-story design over a two-story structure. Upon completion, the station will overlook Bridge Street, bound by Second, Third and Van Norden streets on the sides and rear.

LOCATION, LOCATION: Facing Bridge Street, and bound by Second and Third streets, the police station will be one of the first things people see when they drive into town on U.S. Highway 17 Business. (City of Washington/Moseley Architects)

All told, the project weighs in at around to $4 million, and the city already has approximately $2.6 million saved for the endeavor. Russell says grant funding through the Golden LEAF Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FEMA will cover a good portion of the remainder.

“We’re looking at roughly $1.5-1.75 million that we’ll try to piece together with grants and then we’ll reevaluate what funding channels from there,” Russell said.

One additional possibility discussed by council involved including space for a license plate agency within the department.

Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford credits Moseley Architects for working closely with the department to ensure the space has everything the WPD will need for years to come. He also said he hopes the building will be a welcoming and inviting presence in the heart of Washington.

“Moseley listened to our information on what we think the City of Washington needs for a police department,” Drakeford said. “They took the plans that we had worked on with the students at ECU and Pitt Community College, and made a good rendition of what the police department should look like. Taking those ideas and fitting them in, it was important to me that we had a building that fit into the existing designs of buildings that were already here; that we made that building a part of the community.”

According to the presentation, the project could be ready for construction in approximately seven months, and building the new station would take about a year. Russell says early 2022 is a realistic projection for completion.