FROSTBURG — Construction of a new $5 million public safety building at Frostburg State University is underway after the Maryland Board of Public Works recently finalized state funding needed for the project.
"This is something being built from the ground up to serve police," Liz Medcalf, university spokeswoman, said.
The state-of-the-art facility will be located on the corner of College Avenue and University Drive, a main entrance to the campus.
"This location situates the police department strategically to highlight the importance of a safe campus community," University Police Chief Cynthia Smith said.
The building's location was originally intended for Braddock Road, close to campus sports fields and the Stangel Building. During the design process, however, that location proved insufficient. The new location will allow officials more access to the Frostburg community.
"Its accessibility to the neighborhood around campus, that was considered a benefit," Medcalf said.
In addition to location, size was a major concern for officials.
The current 2,500-square-foot campus police station located on University Drive was constructed as an elementary school in 1953 and is incapable of meeting present-day requirements for law enforcement accreditation, according to officials.
“This building will meet the standards in order for FSU to seek law enforcement accreditation through CALEA: The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies,” Medcalf said. “This is an independent review by an outside agency that takes into account a number of aspects of the law enforcement operation, including the physical structure that the department is in.”
The new 6,127-square-foot structure will be more than twice the size of the current campus police building.
"The facility will provide for a secure private area for victims of crime to be interviewed and the ability to separate victims, witnesses and suspects," Smith said, adding that it would also provide more secure storage of evidence, property and records.
"The facility will provide for distinct, secure separation between public and police-only functions," she said.
The building will also be designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver specifications, reducing waste and energy use.
The new building is expected to open in February.
Follow staff writer Heather Wolford on Twitter @heatherbwolford.