Standing near the corner of Northwest Sixth Street and Northwest Eighth Avenue, officers and staff watched as the abandoned Gainesville Police Department headquarters was demolished Thursday.
The demolition of the building, which was built in 1953, was the first step in its reconstruction process for a new GPD headquarters and physical training facility.
Video courtesy of the Gainesville Police Department.
After years of multiple additions and renovations, a complete renovation was set to take place in late 2010. “Multiple issues” with the building halted progress, forcing officers and staff to work elsewhere around the city.
“For a lot of us, it has a ton of sentimental value,” said GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias. “I was sworn in that building in January 2005 and made a lot of great friends there. I have a lot of fantastic memories from inside and outside those walls.”
The entire demolition process will take about a month. Site preparations will then take place for the new building, which is expected to be complete by March 2014.
Plans for the new building include further expansion into the intersection of Sixth Street and Eighth Avenue, leaving much of the old site for a parking lot area.
“This has been such a long time coming for us,” Tobias said. “We’ve been out of that building since December 2010 and we’ve just had to watch it sit empty. To actually see real, measurable, tangible progress on this is so exciting for all of us.”
Shaneece Dixon wrote this story online.