Renovations underway at old city hall

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

As the Andalusia City Council will be moving into the renovated building of East Three Notch Elementary School, the Andalusia Police Department will be moving into the renovated City Hall building.

Preparations to get ready for the move continued Thursday, with the removal of the old jail cells, according to Officer Matt Mancil.

"Workers are ripping out the jail cells as part of the remodeling of the old City Hall," Mancil said. "The cells were closed around '96, and there were prisoners housed there up until then. The County Jail was built at the same time, and prisoners have been housed there ever since."

Mancil added the police department will inherit and utilize all of the building.

"We need the space for a records room," he said. "We will maintain the records by putting in accessible filing cabinets with wheels that can be reached from either side. The wheels will allow a person to turn all the cabinets with one hand and get the files easier. It's just a better filing system."

The increased space will also allow some of the officers to work in a more comfortable environment, said Mancil.

"This will give us more space, because some of us are in cramped quarters," he said. "The investigators will have offices, instead of having to share one. And several people are working in the same office right now."

Mancil added he is not sure when the police department will be able to move into the remodeled offices.

"We're waiting on the Utilities Department and the (city) administration to move into the new City Hall," he said.

The renovations may not stop with the old City Hall, Mancil continued.

"Plans are being looked at for possibly remodeling the old police station and changing around some of the courts," he said.

Mancil added the municipal courts would have to be out of the way of the police department for legal reasons.

"We basically are looking at a new location and a separation from the courts," he added. "So there is no legal conflict, the main entrance and the communications may be separated from the municipal court."

Rough drafts of the plan are being looked at, but nothing has been set as of yet, continued Mancil.

"We've looked at the plan drawn out, but the chief hasn't heard anything about it," he said.

Other changes may include the dispatch crew, a booking area, a training area, and a new conference room, added Mancil.

"We'll probably move the dispatch to the other side of the building," he said. "We'll also probably have a booking area, where officers will be able to work. We'll probably set up the training room around the court area. A private space with conference areas, where officers may meet with other law enforcement officials, is also in the cards."

A great addition to the move will be the new offices for investigators, said Mancil.

"Computer specialist on board and fingerprint specialist will have offices," he said.

Although the space for the department is expanding, no new officers will be hired for now, according to Mancil.