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Police Department Will Undergo Renovations

By Jason T. Benowitz

The Cambridge Police Department's Western Avenue station will soon undergo major renovations that city officials estimate will cost the city between $15 million and $25 million.

Under a plan proposed by the City Council's Public Safety Committee, the building would be improved one floor at a time, and the city would purchase the building across the street from the current facility to give the department additional office space.

Detailed plans cannot be made until architectural firms examine the building, according to City Councillor Michael Sullivan, who is also the chair of the Public Safety Committee.

The council has just begun to discuss plans for the renovations and council members said they expect the repairs and additions will not be completed until the year 2000.

"There is still squabbling going on" about the exact dollar amount that will be allocated to the project, said Francis H. Duehay '55, a city councillor.

The cost estimates were based on police reports from Arlington, Somerville and Hutchinson, where similar construction has been financed in the last few years, Sullivan said.

Representatives of the council and the police agree that modernization of the 63-year-old structure is long overdue.

"It's a very old building, an antiquated building, and there's just not enough room for the department," Duehay said. "It's like a 1910 school-house.

Police spokesperson Frank T. Pasquarello said that the station, constructed in 1933, does not meet the department's current needs.

"As we've grown...different sets of problems have made us create a detective unit, a drug unit, and so forth," he said.

Pasquarello said each of these units requires its own office space, and added that additional accommodations are becoming scarce.

"Now even the ID bureau is too small to process and fingerprints that come in," Pasquarello said.

Councillors began discussing the renovation after members of the Public Safety Committee toured the building last week, according to Pasquarello.

After touring the site, Sullivan proposed at last Monday's council meeting that money be allocated to renovate the building.

Sullivan said he hopes to include representatives of the Cambridge Police when the specifics of the renovation are discussed.

"It's their building, and they know what they need. You go to the experts to get it done right," he said

"Now even the ID bureau is too small to process and fingerprints that come in," Pasquarello said.

Councillors began discussing the renovation after members of the Public Safety Committee toured the building last week, according to Pasquarello.

After touring the site, Sullivan proposed at last Monday's council meeting that money be allocated to renovate the building.

Sullivan said he hopes to include representatives of the Cambridge Police when the specifics of the renovation are discussed.

"It's their building, and they know what they need. You go to the experts to get it done right," he said

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