A long overdue move will finally be over for the Conroe Police Department beginning next week.
The new CPD and Municipal Court building will officially open for business starting Monday, but held a grand opening ceremony Tuesday.
“I’m excited about this day to be over with,” Chief Philip Dupuis said, joking about the arduous process. “This journey started back in 2012. We’ve been working on this for four years. It was exciting in the beginning; it was fun and then it didn’t get fun and then it got fun again and now it’s not fun anymore at all.”
Dupuis and Mayor Webb Melder thanked all the elected officials on scene for helping making the $25.5 million facility — designed to at least double the size of CPD — come to fruition.
“It’s not just for me, but it’s for the men and women standing at the end of this tent that we say thank you for believing in us and giving us the facility and equipment we need to do our jobs to protect the citizens of this great city,” Dupuis said. “Usually police stations last 30, 40 years and then we get a hand-me-down building. In the city of Conroe, this is our second, brand-new facility built from the ground up.”
The existing facility was built from the ground up, but suffered foundation issues from day one and is now woefully undersized to meet the force’s needs in many areas. In a tour of the building before the grand opening, Dupuis said the theme of the new building is to double everything. It also features upgrades in technology, security, office and record space, and communication and accessibility between CPD and the Municipal Court, which share a common lobby.
Rhonda Scarborough, Municipal Court administrator, said she’s moved seven times since joining the city staff and led the design of the Municipal Court side of the building.
“This has been the best process ever because we got to have our say in it,” she said at the ceremony. “The chief let us do what we needed to do in the court to be able to function as a court as a whole.”
The court will now feature a witness stand, upgraded audio and visual tools, two jury rooms, and expanded office space. It can also serve as a court of record once the proper personnel have been hired if the court so chooses.
Mayor-elect Toby Powell, who was on council when the building was first approved, was also on scene to congratulate the staff and acknowledge his excitement to start his term. He and newly elected Councilman Duane Ham will be sworn in this morning (July 6) at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.
“The beauty of it and the high-tech will be state of the art for the next years to come,” Powell said. “The citizens will enjoy this building for many, many years. I’m coming in at the right time.”
Those at the ceremony were able to take tours of the facility, which encompasses more than 70,000 square feet over two floors.