STAMFORD, Conn. -- Police Chief Jon Fontneau got a special birthday present Tuesday: The city held the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Stamford Police headquarters.
It's a $43 million present for Fontneau, who joined other city officials as they gathered on a warm and sunny last day of February to celebrate the event.
Born in 1956, the same year the current police headquarters was built, Fontneau thanked Mayor David Martin for spearheading the drive to build a new police station.
"This is a major endeavor, and I want to personally thank you, Mayor David Martin, for not kicking the can down the road," Fontneau said.
Martin, joined by Director of Public Safety Ted Jankowski, Fontneau and city engineering officials, grabbed shovels to take part in the official ceremony. The new police building will be constructed adjacent to the current police station at 805 Bedford St.
The three-story, 94,245-square-foot building will be home to all of the specialty police units that are now housed in other locations because the current building doesn't have enough space.
The project, which was years in the planning, is expected to be completed in 24 months.
In addition to not having enough space, the current building has a severe asbestos problem that was discovered in the last two years, Martin said.
"That really triggered us to move forward with something that should have been done a decade ago," he said.
Fontneau said the new headquarters will be a welcoming one for the community, with a front entrance with glass walls, better access for the disabled and a community area in the lobby, which the police are planning to use for various public and community activities.
O&G Industries has been awarded the contract for this project and has already started work. The new headquarters was designed by Jacunski Humes Architects with Brian Humes as the architect.