The move was made after the City and Cherokee County reached agreement in September on relocating the Police Department out of the County Law Enforcement Center to allow for a County Jail and Sheriff's Department expansion and renovation.
The County deeded the former DHS building to the City and the City deeded the dead-end alley just south of the LEC to the County to help accomodate the proposed Jail and Sheriff's Department expansion project.
The County also paid the City $25,000 for necessary renovations of the DHS building to better accomodate the Police Department.
By a long-standing contract, the Police Department was not forced to relocate and the City could have denied the County request and remained housed in the LEC; however, the City ultimately decided the County request had merit and Schuck and his Department determined that relocating had many added benefits over the two departments sharing operations and limited facilities.
Previously, the County had proposed $21,500 for the DHS renovation work, but upped it to $25,000 after the City Council balked at accepting the initial proposal after viewing the cost estimates compiled by Police Chief Steve Schuck and City Administrator Don Eikmeier.
Eikmeier, Schuck, and County Supervisor Terry Graybill and Sheriff Dave Scott handled most of the heavy lifting regarding negotiations involved in the County's proposal to move the Police out of the LEC. In fact, Schuck and Scott met one-on-one to hammer out the final details and arrive at the $25,000 figure, according to Eikmeier.
It was initially hoped the DHS renovations and the Police Department's move could be accomplished by Jan. 1, 2011, but Schuck, his officers and staff at the Police Department, poured in considerable volunteer hours of sweat equity on their off hours to do much of the DHS demolition and renovation, thereby saving the City thousands of dollars and accelerating the transition to its Dec. 1 opening.
Preliminary estimates for the DHS remodeling gleaned by the City and Schuck totaled $29,800, plus replacing a large portion of the broken and cracked concrete sidewalk in front of the DHS building, estimated at an additional $9,000.
Those numbers were then pared down to $25,000 and the understanding that the concrete sidewalk fronting the DHS and two adjacent properties will be repaired at a later date, with the three property owners sharing in the cost.
Schuck said the City's share would be an estimated $1,400-$1,700, pending additional sweat equity from his staff and City employees. Total cost figures will be tallied by Schuck and Eikmeier in the near future.
The DHS renovations proposed included carpeting, interior painting, window replacement, electrical work necessary, software and computer expenses, radio replacement, and general remodeling procedures such as sheetrocking, counters, security door, insulation, shelving, and appropriate signage.
All appropriate work involving professional labor and new construction was done by local contractors, most doing the work at a discount, according to Schuck.
A list of all who contributed to the cause will be forthcoming, said Schuck.
"It's great!" exclaimed Schuck on opening day. "We (Police Department) put a lot of volunteer work into this building, including some 13-hour days on weekends. It's going to work out fine. We're happy to be here."