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Published: Wednesday, 2/22/2006

Bedford Township: New space planned for sheriff's deputies

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - After years of working out of an old storage barn, Bedford Township's contingent of sheriff's deputies may soon find their digs moving up in the world - by moving down.

The latest plans for Bedford Township's new $2.5 million township hall includes space in the "basement" for a walk-out sheriff's substation that would be roughly three times the size of the current antiquated facility.

"I haven't seen the plans yet, but if [the size increases], I'd be elated," said Sheriff's Lt. Dale Malone, the substation's commander, who has been fighting to increase the size of the substation and amenities.

Sheriff's deputies have complained for years about conditions in the substation. The former barn lacks all but the most basic amenities. It has a single bathroom that has flooded more than once, electrical circuits are frequently overloaded and fail because of the draw from equipment there, and it lacks facilities to securely hold suspects or conduct investigative interviews.

Bids were opened last week for architectural services and an agreement was entered into with Monroe Bank & Trust to finance the majority of the project.

As township board members have progressed in their discussions for a new, 26,500 square-foot township hall over the last six months, they have struggled with how best to fit a new sheriff's substation into their plans.

When board members considered purchasing another building, they initially discussed moving the substation into the current township hall. Later, when that proved untenable, they studied locating a smaller substation on the main floor of a new township hall, but competition for space meant the deputies likely would have to give up plans for separate locker rooms and rest rooms.

Township trustee Dennis Steinman, who's helping shepherd the township hall project with fellow trustee Larry O'Dell and supervisor Walt Wilburn, said last week that adding a full basement to the planned structure and putting the substation there made financial sense.

"This is the cheapest square footage that we could add to the project, and it gives us tons of storage space as well," Mr. Steinman said.

An initial survey of the land on which the current township hall sits - and where the new one is to be built - shows an elevation drop of 10 feet from west to east. The natural slope means that the township could install "an English walk-out" on the north side of a full basement and landscape the three remaining sides of the building to provide the substation with an at-grade entrance, Mr. Steinman said.

"Putting in a basement would also give us all the storage we would need, at least for now," Mr. Steinman said.

If a new basement substation would use half of the building's planned footprint, that would make it about 4,500 square feet,

or about three times the size of the last floor plan Lieutenant Malone said he had seen.

"It would grow by 3,000 square feet from the last plan that I saw, and that leaves room for growth," the lieutenant said.

"I

think they're doing their homework, and all I would ask is when do we break ground before they change their mind again?"or about three times the size of the last floor plan Lieutenant Malone said he had seen.

"It would grow by 3,000 square feet from the last plan that I saw, and that leaves room for growth," the lieutenant said. "I think they're doing their homework, and all I would ask is when do we break ground before they change their mind again?"



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