MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — A project nearly two years in the making is about to become a reality in Mt. Juliet.

On Friday, Sept. 1, the Mt. Juliet Police Department will break ground in a field next to its current headquarters at 1019 Charlie Daniels Parkway, signifying the beginning of construction on a new 45,000-square-foot facility.

The announcement comes after years of planning to help accommodate the city’s growing population and enhance capabilities during severe weather events like an EF-3 tornado that ripped through Mt. Juliet in March 2020.

After nine years in its current facility, Mt. Juliet Police Capt. Tyler Chandler, who has helped spearhead the over $20 million project, said the police department simply outgrew the old building and had “no space for future growth.”

The new facility will not only serve as the headquarters for the police department, but will feature an advanced police, fire and EMS communications center, along with an emergency coordination center and community storm shelter.

In a social media post on Monday, the police department said the design for the new facility is focused on “open workspaces and multifunctional rooms” that will allow the building to be adapted “to the community’s evolving needs.”

It is also expected to be safer with enhanced vehicular and ballistic protection, in addition to several features aimed at enhancing public safety services, as well as collaboration and communication among members of the police department.

The consolidation of all divisions into a centralized location will be one of the key advantages, police said. Some additional features include extensive evidence storage, an evidence processing laboratory, a vehicle processing garage, modern K-9 kennels and larger training rooms.

“This new headquarters facility represents a significant step forward for the Mt. Juliet Police Department. We are excited to provide our officers with a modern, efficient workspace that will enable them to continue serving and protecting our community with utmost dedication,” said Chief James Hambrick, who also thanked the city’s mayor and commissioners for their support.

The new facility will be almost three times larger than the existing headquarters, which Chandler said will continue to be used as a city building after the police department moves.

The Board of Commissioners has previously considered using the building for the Mt. Juliet Parks Department and Mt. Juliet Senior Citizens Center, but no official decision has been made.

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Local residents and officials are invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, which is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 in the newly purchased 1.53-acre field next to police headquarters at 1019 Charlie Daniels Parkway.

The current police department property, which consists of 5 acres, will be combined with the 1.53-acre field to accommodate the new police headquarters. If everything goes well, Chandler said the building should be completed within 16 to 20 months.