Beaufort city police, court building to share space with federal probation program

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 25, 2014 

The Beaufort Police Department headquarters building is photographed on Friday. The city of Beaufort will lease out part of the police and court building in the Boundary Street municipal complex. The 10-year agreement includes the cost of retrofitting the leased part of the building for use by the U.S. federal probation program. The police department administration offices will be moving upstairs to make room.

JAY KARR — Jay Karr Buy Photo

The city of Beaufort Police Department and Municipal Court will make room for a new tenant this summer.

The city has agreed to lease 1,648 square feet of the department and court building to the General Services Administration. It will be used by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System.

The federal probation office is moving from the old federal courthouse at 1501 Bay St., where it has been leasing space from Beaufort County for more than two decades.

The old courthouse will soon be closed as a cost-saving measure by the federal government. The lease there expires in mid-July, and the city's building is expected to be ready for the probation office to move in July 1.

The federal government will pay about $60,000 a year for the first five years of the 10-year lease and about $50,000 a year for the second five.

The first five years includes costs of renovating the building to accommodate the probation office. Before voting on the lease this week, Beaufort City Council members agreed that revenue from the lease should be used to pay for that building's operating and other costs.

The main entrance for the police station and personnel stationed there will remain on the first floor, but administrative offices, including those of the police chief and deputy chief, will move upstairs, along with records storage, administrative assistants and the victims' rights advocate office.

The lease does not affect the court side of the building.

The changes should not affect the public, city officials said in an email.

City staff is meeting with GSA and federal probation representatives next week to complete plans. The city contracted AAG Associates of Beaufort for the architectural work this week.

The area to be leased needs to retrofitted and the office reconfigured. Secure access for both the police department and probation office must be installed, as well.

The renovations will initially be paid for out of a special tax-district fund that originally was used for the building's construction. It was completed in 2010.

Another 4,500 square feet of space remains available for lease in the building, according to city officials. That includes the first-floor police records office and squad room, which would be moved upstairs, in accordance with a long-range plan formed when building construction began in 2007.

Renovations are also needed on the second floor, which is "currently an open shell," according to an email from city officials.

"Until the space layout is finalized for both floors, estimated costs to complete the renovations are very preliminary," the email said.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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