New Marion Police Department Nears Completion

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By Hilary LeHew

MARION -- Work to transform Marion's former Army Reserve building into the new police headquarters is well underway.      

The project is about a month behind schedule, but the station is set to be up and running by this summer.
 
"We are about 4 months into the remodeling process now," said Marion Police Chief John Eibeck.
 
Eibeck says the building has been gutted, since the city officially took ownership in August. "We've got walls that have gone back up, dry wall is going up now, I'd say we're not too far from having walls painted and flooring put down," he said.
 
The new facility is about four times the size of the current station on Madison Street. It's expected to accommodate a growing Marion police department, which Eibeck says has doubled in the last 30 years.
 
"We need an area that we can expand in to long after I'm gone from this department," he said. "This building should be good for 20 or 30 years based on the size of the department as it is now."
    
A sally port, decontamination showers, and a public storm shelter are just some of the new features. "Once we're done with that, it's going to be able to accommodate somewhere between 75 and 100 people during a tornado," said Eibeck.
 
Not to mention the larger parking lot and accessibility right off of Route 13. "Since we're going to be more centrally located in town here, we should be able to respond quicker to calls as well," the chief explained.
 
On top of acquiring the building and much of the equipment for free, Eibeck says the rehab comes in under budget by nearly $500,000.
 
"If we were to actually go out and build a building from scratch, one this size, you know we'd be looking at somewhere between $12 and $15 million," he said. "So, we're doing a remodel for about $1.5 million."
 
Eibeck plans to hold an open house this May, when the new police station is up and running.
 
This new station has been a long time coming for Marion. Chief Eibeck says it took the city seven years to acquire the building from the federal government.
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