Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Digs

In the barrier island community of Lavallette, New Jersey, Superstorm Sandy irreparably damaged the borough hall and the police headquarters, such that they had to be demolished following the storm of October, 2012.

Since that time both the police department and the borough offices have been operating out of construction trailers in a municipal parking lot.  It has been challenging, to say the least.

Which is why Lavallette Chief Colin M. Grant was beaming earlier this week as he greeted residents touring the new police headquarters, nearing completion as part of a newly-constructed borough hall.  The new structure, dedicated on Monday while the finishing touches were still being applied, will house not only the police department, but the court and all of the municipal offices.

Also incorporated into the new building is the post office, which prior to the storm was in a separate building that was also rendered unusable.

It is not often that a police chief gets to supervise the design and construction of his headquarters, but Chief Grant was justifiably pleased with the layout, features, and size of the new facility.  Early in the project he toured other police buildings in the state and cribbed some of their best features, and he gave credit to the HQ in Westwood, in the northeastern part of the state, for having provided the greatest design inspiration.

Chief Grant is a relatively young man but is a Lavallette Police “lifer,” having begun his law enforcement career in the town as part of the seasonal force.   The Lavallette PD nearly doubles in size each summer, and Chief Grant rose from being a seasonal officer to a year-round officer to chief.

Final installation and testing of communications equipment is yet to take place, so it is expected that in January the Lavallette police will move from the temporary trailers that have been their home for more than three years.

The original Lavallette Boro Hall as construction was being completed 86 years ago.

The original Lavallette Boro Hall as it appeared in 2010.

The new Lavallette Boro Hsll, clearly inspired by the original but significantly larger.