SHREWSBURY – The physical distance between the new Shrewsbury Police Station and its predecessor is no more than 50 yards. However, functionally, the two buildings are light years apart.
On Feb. 24, the Shrewsbury Police Department officially relocated to its new headquarters, a 41,500-square-foot facility.
Approved by voters in 2020, ground was broken in the fall of 2021. It replaces a facility built in 1971 and renovated in 1996.
According to Town Manager Kevin Mizikar and Police Chief Kevin Anderson, the process was smooth and the building was completed on time and within budget.
“There were a couple of punch list items that we had to tap into the contingency, but it was all within budget,” said Mizikar.
He credited Fontaine Construction with helping to keep costs down.
“Fontaine purchased materials and supplies up front, which saved a lot of money,” he said. “And they took care of storing those materials and supplies [off-site] until they were needed, at no cost to us. Fontaine has been very good to us through this whole process.”
According to Mizikar, the project was approved and began at the right time. Given that post-COVID inflation has caused the costs of materials and supplies to soar, starting the project today would cost millions more, he said.
The building itself was completed in January. The transition had to be timed in such a way as to not jeopardize resident safety.
“Considering we are a 24/7 operation, things have gone relatively smoothly. The station transition team did an outstanding job preparing the department for the move, often working 12-16-hour days,” said Anderson. “We would not have been able to move into the new station without all the staff’s hard work. We had E911 transition scheduled for a specific date and time that had to be seamless in order to provide continuous public safety for the town.”
Beyond substantially increasing floor space, the new building provides usable space that will help officers, dispatch and staff do their jobs more effectively. It includes numerous features, including two community rooms and a spacious call room.
“The new police station will be a perfect building for the Police Departments 21st century policing model and community policing philosophy and the department’s vision: ‘To be fully engaged in our community to co-produce public safety that reduces crime and improves quality of life,’” said Anderson.
The new Shrewsbury police station also features a wellness facility, dedicated to the overall mental health and emotional well-being of the department staff.
Both Anderson and Mizikar lauded the team effort that went into making the new police station a reality and thanked those involved in the process.
“The building committee did an outstanding job overseeing, directing and guiding the design and construction of the project. They really took the department’s needs into account during any decision that needed to be made,” said Anderson, who worked 28 and a half years in the old station. “We also formed internal working groups and subject matter experts within the department that volunteered and assisted with various aspects and decisions that affected police operations during and after the project is completed. This was truly a team effort with the police department and members of the community.”