TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The City of Terre Haute is moving forward with a plan to turn the old Tribune-Star building into a new police department.

Mayor Duke Bennett and THPD Chief Shawn Keen held a press conference Monday at the downtown location to unveil plans for the estimated $10.9 million renovation project. According to officials, the city plans to officially purchase the building next week and move in by August of 2021.

“They’ve put up with a building in not very good condition for quite some time now,” Mayor Bennett said. “And it’s been a rough year on them with the criminal activity we’ve had and some of the social unrest that the whole country has experienced and COVID-19 has taken it’s toll on our officers.”

According to Bennett, the police department has been housed at its current location on Wabash Avenue since moving out of City Hall in 2004. He said he knew when he first took office in 2008 that a new location would be necessary.

The new building has three levels and is 46,000 sq. feet. The new location will be completely remodeled with new furniture, new IT equipment and a new garage for vehicle processing.

An original plan was to build a new department near the current location; however, after the Tribune-Star building became available, city officials found it to be a better option, Bennett said.

“We’re getting a bigger building than what we were going to build at a lesser cost. It’s almost a perfect scenario and it took a little while to work through that. We had to work with our architect to take our old plans to build a new building and fit them into this facility,” he said.

Chief Shawn Keen provides a video tour of the future THPD headquarters

According to Keen, the new building will be located right in the center of the department’s patrol area.

“Every detail has been talked about and talked about and talked about again,” he said. “So hopefully it resulted in the best possible project, and I think that’s what we have here.”

Keen said it’s been a team effort up to this point. He hope that the facility brings revenue into the community by providing a place for law enforcement training and meetings.

“I’m thankful for this building. It’ll have increased security but it will also enhance our ability for customer service and it will help our community policing efforts,” Keen noted.