WHEELING, W.Va. – After years of planning, renovations on a newer, modern headquarters for the City of Wheeling Police Department are finally underway.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling police officers, Mayor Glenn Elliott, City Council, and City Manager Robert Herron along with city staff joined together Thursday morning to kick the project off with a ceremonial groundbreaking.
“It has been a very long road getting to this point,” said Chief Schwertfeger. “I have much appreciation for those who had integral parts in getting us here today, including the WPD command staff and officers, our Mayor and City Council, our City Manager and of course our supportive community. Each person involved stuck with the vision to improve our facility and not once did anyone give up during this journey. Opportunities will be limitless with our new headquarters, as it will finally move the Wheeling Police Department into the 21st Century. There is no doubt this new facility will increase efficiency, professionalism, recruitment and retention.”
Located in the heart of Center Wheeling at 2115 Chapline Street, the new police headquarters building is the former Ohio Valley Medical Center Valley Professional Center. The $6.5 million dollar building renovation project is expected to begin next week and last roughly one year.
Mayor Glenn Elliott, joined by city council, said he is pleased to be moving forward on the project that will retrofit the vacant Valley Professional Center into the city’s new police department.
“For the last several years, city council, in conjunction with city administration, have been seeking space that would allow the police department to relocate out of the current cramped and outdated space in the City-County Building,” Mayor Elliott said. “After a public safety levy fell a few votes short of its requisite 60-percent approval in 2018, city council made the difficult decision to fund this project by implementing a city service fee. This decision was made with the city’s best interests in mind. I look forward to the completion of the building next year.”
City Manager Robert Herron added, “It is an exciting time for our first responders in that this is the first of two very important projects. We are very fortunate to be able to repurpose an existing building for our police department and are looking forward to the future construction of a fire department headquarters in East Wheeling. The mayor and city council made the tough decision to fund these projects through a city service fee, however, I do believe when these projects are completed, the community will be very proud of the facilities that are available to them.”
The Wheeling Police Department has been at its current location inside the City-County building in downtown since 1959 and occupies roughly 4,600 square feet. The new three-story facility will be more than 36,000 square feet with many new and improved amenities, including: office spaces for officers, civilian staff and community outreach programs, an enhanced training room, a physical fitness area, a highly secure entrance, a garage sally port for arrests, and a secure area for evidence storage.
The renovation design was provided by M&G Architects & Engineering of Wheeling. The Waller Corporation of Washington, Pa. is the general contractor for the project. The building is expected to be completed and occupied by early September 2022.