UABPD HQ Rendering

A rendition of the $10.5 million, 25,000 square foot building is set be finished in July 2018 and will be located near the corner of 14th Street South and 11th Avenue South adjacent to the existing headquarters.
Photo courtesy of UAB Media Relations

Wallace Golding
Managing Editor

Officials broke ground in April on what will be a new headquarters for the UAB Police Department. The new building will serve the Department’s 111 sworn officers, who combine to make the UAB PD one of the largest accredited law enforcement agencies in the state.

The $10.5 million, 25,000 square foot project is expected to be finished in July 2018 and will be located near the corner of 14th Street South and 11th Avenue South adjacent to the existing headquarters.

As the UAB campus continues to grow in terms of area and population, UAB PD officials often found themselves spread thin in their current building, which was built in the 1960s.

“The building and its systems had exceeded its designed lifespans,” said Thom Anderson, the project’s manager with UAB Facilities. “[The Department] is currently divided among three buildings. The new building will allow the UAB PD to consolidate the majority of its operations and personnel into a single site.”

For Anderson, this project is about providing the department with what they deserve and what they need to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“Our police department is a vital part of the UAB community,” Anderson said. “Providing adequate facilities for them will only enable them to grow in their size and the amount of coverage they provide.”

Police administrators believe the new building will do the same, while also increasing the Department’s effectiveness in all aspects of their mission.

“The new building will provide an environment more conducive for the work of our officers and administrators,” said UAB PD Deputy Chief Marvin Atwell.

The UAB Police Department regularly provides several training courses, ranging from topics on rape aggression defense to active shooter. The agency currently conducts these classes for the UAB community and neighboring law enforcement agencies within a very limited space.

However, in building a new headquarters, the UAB PD will be able to accommodate a larger number of participants in each class and could potentially begin offering more examining different scenarios in the future.

In stark contrast to the existing structure, the new building will feature a more public-oriented lobby on the first level as well as room for records and evidence storage, staff offices and locker rooms with showers. However, the bulk of this level will be dedicated to the communications department, which oversees all emergency calls and dispatches for the Department.

The second level will be comprised almost exclusively of senior administrative and investigative offices along with a large conference room and a training room.

However, the functionality of the new building is not the only upgrade resulting from the project.

“We also feel that the new facility will make much more efficient and attractive use of the site, fitting in better with the surrounding neighborhood,” Anderson said.

Birmingham-based TurnerBatson Architects designed the building, and construction will be completed by Wyatt General Contractors, LLC under the direction of UAB Facilities.

Wallace Golding can be reached at wsgoldin@uab.edu and on Twitter at @WGolding_4.

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