EASTHAM — The town’s police station was built 30 years ago and has stayed virtually unchanged ever since. But now some much needed exterior and interior renovations are under way.
The building received a new roof this fall and renovations to the locker rooms, kitchen, and training room are expected to begin in January and to be completed by April.
New police stations are a timely topic on the Cape. Neighboring Orleans and Wellfleet paid for multi-million dollar stations completed in 2018. Voters in Provincetown meanwhile rejected a new police station proposal at the 2019 town meeting and will revisit the issue at a Dec. 2 special town meeting.
Eastham went for a compromise — choosing to make necessary improvements to the station without paying for an entire new building. The proposed renovations were approved at the 2018 town meeting by a vote of 305 to 36.
Keenan + Kenny Architects of Falmouth are heading the design of the project. The roof replacement, completed this fall, cost $112,000 while the rest of the interior renovations are budgeted at $563,000, according to Police Chief Ed Kulhawik.
Kulhawik said the interior portion of the project is currently out to bid.
“It will be impactful to our staff,” Kulhawik said. “Everybody’s looking forward to it.”
“It’s a morale booster,” said Deputy Chief Adam Bohannon. “It gets us in line with modern-day police departments.”
Along with morale, renovations will also boost the functionality of the station.
The bathrooms and showers in both the male and female locker rooms will be redone. The size of each locker will be increased by about six inches in width and will include a ventilation system, electrical outlets, and an equipment storage drawer at the bottom.
Officers currently tend to leave their body armor and boots outside their lockers so they can air out because the lockers don’t provide any ventilation. It causes a bit of a mess inside the locker room.
A ventilation system will allow air to pass through the locker and outside the building so officers can store belongings, get rid of odor and dry out their equipment between shifts. Bohannon said body armor tends to wear quicker with moisture so hopefully the new system will help the equipment last longer.
The storage drawer will allow officers to place their boots or any other equipment in a more consolidated space. Officers can charge their radios, phones, or other equipment between shifts using the electrical outlets.
The kitchen design includes a new refrigerator, countertop, drawers, and an oven —
something the department has not had before.
“We’ve had times during a snowstorm where our officers have had to work 16- or 17-hour shifts, come back to the station, take a nap, and then go back out,” Bohannon said. The oven will provide them a way to cook hot meals when necessary.
A new kitchenette will replace a small storage closet located in the station’s training room and will include a mini-fridge, cabinets, countertop, sink, and coffee maker.
“This will increase our ability to host training,” Bohannon said. “Training is a big part of what we do here.”
Currently the training room contains high school−style desks that the police hope to replace with more comfortable long tables and chairs.
The improvements may seem minor but the department leaders are confident it will have an impact on the staff. Bohannon said officers will have to work around the ongoing construction for about four months but, he said, they’re looking forward to the finished product.