WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) — A groundbreaking officially kicked off construction for a new Wasilla Police Department headquarters on Thursday on the site of what used to be Iditarod Elementary School.
According to Lt. Chris Watchus, it's a much needed upgrade.
"Right now, currently in the building we're in, which used to be an old bank building, we got officers sharing desks, and we're storing stuff on top of shelves," Watchus said.
The current building is just over 10,000 square feet with work space for about 28 patrol officers and more staff, but little room for storage. The plan is to be moved into the new 21,000 square foot building by July of 2020. The new building will allow the department to double in size with room for growth.
"So this will have a training area in it, as far as classroom training," said Mayor Bert L. Cottle. "This will have an area for a bigger evidence locker, an area for storage, and an area for parking squad cars inside when we need to."
The $12 million project is forward funded by a 1% sales tax — a move that had overwhelming support from the community according to Cottle.
"This building, the way I look at it is, it's not just for the police officers, it's for the taxpayers and the people of Wasilla," Watchus said. "They can come, we've got the veterans wall out front, and when it's all said and done there will be grass, and it will be a very nice building."
With the sales tax sun setting at the end of the year, the new building is expected to be fully paid for by the time the police department moves in.