The Lewes Police Department will soon enter the 21st century, as the city is planning a renovation project this spring.
“It’s long overdue, but it will be nice when it’s done,” said Police Chief Tom Spell. “It will be helpful for our recruitment and retention. We’re a little behind some of the others in the area. I’m eager for the building to be a selling feature as opposed to not.”
Work will include new flooring and furniture, fresh paint, slight reconfiguration of the space, and improvements to the kitchen and first-floor bathroom. In the basement, a seldom-used weight room will be removed to expand separate locker rooms for male and female officers. Spell says the existing lockers are comparable to what’s found in a high school. Those will be replaced with larger, more secure lockers with enough space to store all of an officer’s equipment and uniforms.
“A lot of the work is cosmetic, because we can’t really move walls,” said Alison Kirk, the city’s facilities foreman. “A lot of it is to make the department function better, make work spaces work better, clean things up. It will give more space in the patrol room for the patrolmen to work.”
City Manager Ann Marie Townshend says the city has $100,000 set aside for the project in this year’s budget. Furniture is not included in the estimate, but is captured on a different line item. There are also concerns about continued flooding in the basement, she said.
A monitoring well was installed late last year to determine if the flooding was coming from the ground or being diverted to the basement via roof drains or poor grading outside the building.
The cost of additional work to fix the basement flooding is still unknown, she said.
She said it was determined some of the flooding was due to a sump pump failure, which has been remedied, but that may not be the sole problem.
As part of the project, the city will install epoxy flooring in the basement to better handle any flooding that may occur.
Townshend said the project should be sufficient to meet the department’s needs for the next five to seven years while the city considers the possibility of building a new station.
City engineer George, Miles & Buhr completed a space study of the building and determined the police force has outgrown the facility.
Staff estimates about $70,000 worth – furniture and lockers – of the $100,000 planned improvements can be transferred to a new building, if needed.