One year after Charlie’s Chicken closed its doors, construction workers are adding rooms in the building slated to become the Amherst Town Police Department’s headquarters.

The site of the future police station at 127 West Court St. is undergoing construction with a handicap-accessible bathroom, new lobby, a kitchen, a break room and a host of offices and meeting spaces. The two-story, 2,100-square-foot building will give the department of six officers, including Chief Bobby Shiflett, much needed room to conduct police work.

“I don’t ever foresee us outgrowing this building,” Shiflett said during a recent tour of the facility.

The department currently is housed in the town hall headquarters across the road on South Main Street in a setup that affords little room for privacy for officers dealing with sensitive matters, including criminal investigations and complaints, Shiflett said.

In August 2018, the former restaurant closed and the town purchased the building for $190,000. Town Council awarded a $169,000 bid in May to Wall Construction of Madison Heights, the low bidder out of two firms, to transform the eatery into a new municipal station.

Shiflett said the department regularly has to conduct interrogations at the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office nearby and store items elsewhere because of the current lack of space. The new facility provides plenty of storage and room to operate without having to go elsewhere, which Shiflett said helps in meeting a long-term goal of receiving state accreditation.

“This is a big leap in that direction,” Shiflett said.

He said his handful of officers who share an office are “stoked” for a new place to call home.

“The morale is through the roof. You can see it in their faces. They’re excited,” Shiflett said. “The town should be excited. It’s a good thing.”

Town Manager Sara Carter said officials knew more space would be needed when it purchased the current town hall and moved in five years ago, she said.

When the department vacates, it will open up more space for the town’s clerk and finance director, helping address other space needs, according to Carter.

“It’s going to allow us to make everyone’s work situation a little bit better,” Carter said.

The new police station will give the department room to hold training sessions and meetings in its own conference room without having to use the council’s chamber, Carter said. The proximity to the town hall also is a major security benefit, she said.

Council has approved up to $250,000 for the renovation, but the current cost is projected at about $215,000, Carter said. As of late August, project expenditures totaled about $90,000, she said.

Work has gone smoothly and on schedule, Shiflett said. It’s possible officers will moved into the new space by the first of the year, he added.

Carter said the town looked at four properties; the former restaurant was the first choice due to its full basement, size, proximity to town hall and adequate parking.

“This was by far the best fit to meet their very long-term needs,” Carter said. “We do not see any future where we’re going to need more space than what we’ll have after this.”

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

Get breaking news emails

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

Recommended for you

Load comments