Somewhere within the walls of 50 W. King St., there is a dam.
Before, almost any rainy day meant the men's locker room was doomed to flood. These days, thanks to the dam, it's only a few times a year that York City Police officers must slog through water to change clothes.
When he was a patrol officer, Chief Wes Kahley said, strange fumes used to rise from cracks in the floor.
"They've plugged it up since," he said during a recent tour of the police station. "We've become very good at making do and getting by."
Despite a history of creative solutions, the locker room is still a damp and crowded space where bulletproof vests are strategically hung from
ceiling pipes and locker doors for the best
That's all about to change.
$5 million: After decades of cramming into a wing of city hall, the York City Police Department now has the 36,000-square-foot space to itself. Other city departments moved out last month to their new location at 101 S. George St.
But the police department will get more than just the opportunity to spread out.
Construction is expected to start before the end of the year to turn 50 W. King St. into a modern, accredited police station with new prisoner cells, an updated evidence storage system and -- yes -- flood-proof locker rooms.
The $5 million project, funded by a state grant, will be bid in the fall and could be complete before 2014, said Jim Gross, the city's public works director.
Plans are coming together, Kahley said, as he flipped through pages of architectural drawings Tuesday. An earlier study of the police department found the staff needed three times as much space as it had to function ideally, he said.
Upgrades: Some upgrades are simply the result of more space, such as the addition of two more rooms for officers to interview witnesses and suspects. Each room will be equipped with cameras, Kahley said.
The prison cells, which date to the 1940s, will be replaced with concrete walls designed to curb prisoners' ability to harm themselves while incarcerated, Kahley said. In the past, inmates have hanged themselves from the old-style metal bars.
A type of garage called a sally port will allow officers to pull directly into the building, with a door closing behind, before transporting a prisoner into the police station. That will reduce the risk of escapes, Kahley said.
So far, the plans are designed to minimize the need for the public to wander the station, as they now do, Kahley said. A front desk protected by bulletproof glass will greet visitors. Department administrators, including Kahley, will have their offices nearby on the same floor. Visitors who stop by to retrieve confiscated items will be able to do that on the first floor, too.
On the second floor, patrol officers will have their locker rooms and office space.
The third floor -- also known as the attic -- is currently cluttered with discarded computers and dusty cardboard boxes. Plans call for the space to be transformed into a gym and training room.
Kahley said he hopes to have the building decorated with artifacts of the department's 250-year existence from the Police Heritage Museum "so the guys understand their history."
-- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or email@example.com or on Twitter @ydcity.