Thursday, September 25, 2003

Police open house to show off renovations



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - City police are unveiling the results of an extensive renovation of their headquarters this weekend - improvements designed to benefit officers as well as the general public.

After a 17-month renovation, the department will hold an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, offering refreshments and tours of the improvements. Among them: a fitness center to keep officers in shape for duty, more room for officers, prisoners and evidence, and a "safe room" to shield the public from would-be assailants.

"I have worked in this building since its very first day of operation, and I have never been more proud of its appearance," said police Chief Neil Ferdelman. "For those of you who have been in this building in the past, I believe you will be amazed at its transformation."

The department is located at 335 S. Front St., inside a former Kroger grocery store. Excluding furnishings, the renovation cost about $380,000 - much of which came from diverting $200,000 that had been earmarked for a new roof. The department also obtained grants and used money seized from drug dealers, said Capt. Steve Poulemanos, who coordinated the project.

Police had been crammed into a 15,000-square-foot section of the building since 1977. But in 2001, Municipal Court relocated, freeing 12,000 square feet for police.

The combined space still falls far short of the recommended 52,000 square feet for a department of Hamilton's size, officials said. Still, the changes are improving efficiency and morale, they said.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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