New City Complex In Works For Gulfport - - The News for South Mississippi

New City Complex In Works For Gulfport

Of the six city buildings in downtown Gulfport, Hurricane Katrina spared only City Hall. The other five are gutted with cracked and broken windows covered with boards.

Offices are in cramped trailers. At the police department, filing cabinets double as cubicle walls.

Grants Coordinator Sarah Lizana says, "We get a lot of traffic other than just the people that work in here and it makes it very difficult to focus sometimes."

Another police department was on the wish list before the storm. Chief Alan Weatherford sees a state of the art department inside a multi-purpose complex that's now in the works. 

"Especially with evidence and forensics, the latest technology. That all needs to be incorporated in that building," the chief says.

The mayor is thinking big, around 60,000 square feet to fit in all ten departments. 

"It's gonna need to be a big building and we don't know that we'll have enough money to do the entire thing from FEMA, but it'll be a huge start," says Mayor Brent Warr.

While FEMA has agreed to pay for new city offices, the mayor says they're still negotiating the price. He says it will be based on each department's needs. 

"For a court type building, there's a typical number of per square feet that it cost to rebuild that building and then there are additional elements that have to do with that - the profit and overhead for the contractor," Warr says.

By the end of this year, Warr hopes to have costs, plans and a construction timeline off the drawing board and ready to go. The mayor says he's not sure exactly where a new city building would go. One suggestion is on the site of the current police department.

by Marcia Hill

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