Brusly  to dip into reserves for station

The Town Council is ready to charge ahead with the construction of a $2.3 million state-of-the-art administration building for its police department, an endeavor Mayor Joey Normand said will take a sizeable chunk out of the town’s $1.5 million savings fund to complete.

“The council is going to have to take about $800,000 out of its budget to do this,” Normand said. “But that’s what you save it for. To spend on good stuff.”

The $800,000 withdrawal from the town’s reserves will be used as matching funds to the $2.7 million state grant that’s being used to fund most of the project.

Normand said Gov. Bobby Jindal recently signed House Bill No. 2, which appropriates the funds for the Brusly project.

“It now goes to the Bond Commission for approval,” he said.

Total construction cost for the new police building is $2.9 million. The funding also will cover the construction of a new maintenance barn for the police department and an archive building for the town.

According to cost estimates from the mayor, the city will spend $366,000 to build the archive building and approximately $159,000 on the police maintenance barn.

“It’s three buildings, not just a police station,” Councilman Scot Rhodes said about the project. “Do we need it today? Probably not. But if we can get someone to fund 75 percent of what we need in the future. ... I don’t see any reason not to keep the train rolling on this thing.”

Brusly officials pored over interior and exterior renderings from Holden Architects for the new buildings last week to determine how the town will proceed with project construction.

“I want to build something we’ll need 25 years from now,” Councilman Shane Andre said.

The new police station, to be next to Town Hall on East St. Francis Street, will have a more contemporary look compared to other town buildings. It will include a sally port, an improved evidence room and a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center. Other amenities presented in the drawings include a fitness room and processing area for detainees.

However, the new police building won’t have a holding cell to house prisoners because police Chief Jamie Whaley said that’s something he doesn’t see the town ever needing with the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail in such close proximity.

“If we get a holding cell, we have to staff it and feed the prisoners,” Whaley said. “We just need to book them (at the new building) and send them over to the jail.”

Normand said he expects the town to put the project out for bid this fall, after the Bond Commission has approved the state funding.

“We may get started on construction by Christmas,” he said.

Once construction is complete and the Police Department has moved into the new building, demolition crews will tear down the current police station, also on East St. Francis Street, and will be replaced with a parking lot.

Demolition costs for the old police station will be covered by a $50,000 grant, Normand said.