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New police, fire stations designers being sought

While the locations for a new fire station and police station have yet to be selected, the Oxford Board of Aldermen wants to at least see what the future buildings could look like one day.

Oxford Police Chief Joey East has previously mentioned that OPD is quickly growing out of its current location on Molly Barr Road. During a work session about a year ago, he presented a few options including building a new station at another location or renovating and expanding the current facility.

Expanding OPD comes with some challenges that could include having to relocate The Pantry that has a building on the same property as OPD where it serves Oxford and Lafayette County residents with emergency food needs.

The aldermen have not yet voted on whether to build a new police station, choose where it would be built if approved, nor budgeted funds for its construction. However, this summer the board did budget money to pay an architect to design a future station.

On Tuesday, Public Works Director Bart Robinson asked the board for permission to advertise for Requests for Proposal for the design of a future police department.

The current OPD building was built in 1985 when there were 25 officers and five civilian employees. Today, there are 68 officers, 20 reserve officers, one code enforcement officer and 12 civilian employees housed in the 8,895 square-foot building. There are 45 lockers and 81 full-time staff and only nine women’s lockers.

Every closet is full and the dispatch center is at its maximum capacity for electricity and Internet, which means the department cannot add any additional computers or other equipment. All five investigators work out of the same office.

Robinson also asked for permission to advertise for RFQs for a future fire department. While no land has been selected yet for the fire department, city officials say it will be built somewhere around the Oxford Commons area to help serve the quickly growing northeast area of Oxford.

“We expect to put out the requests in late January or early February,” Robinson said.

The aldermen voted to approve both requests.