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Murray County Law Enforcement Center renovation begins

Justine Wettschreck/Daily Globe The 29th Street entrance to the Murray County Law Enforcement Center is closed until construction is complete.

SLAYTON -- Things may look a bit different, but business is going forth as usual at the Murray County Law Enforcement Center (LEC).

The renovation began early this week, so offices and the dispatch center have temporarily moved to the courts building meeting room, and visitors are asked to use the east door of the Murray County Courts building, located off Broadway Avenue.

"We're open here from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday," said Murray County Chief Deputy Randy Donahue. "People can still stop in and get burn permits or talk to a staff member. After hours, they need to call 836-6168."

The entrance from 29th Street is closed off, as is the whole street, until construction is complete. Afterward, the road will be reopened and the main entrance to the LEC will be relatively close to where it has always been. Jail Administrator Donna Mollema said they tried to make everything as easy for the public as possible during the two construction phases.

"It may look a bit different, but we are functioning and open for business," she stated.

Once construction is complete, the hours and reception will be close to the current process, with a receptionist available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A call box to reach dispatch for after-hours business will be added.

Mollema said the moving process went fairly smoothly.

"It went better than I envisioned," Donahue added.

Moving equipment and getting it set up in the courts meeting room took careful planning and organization, but everyone is getting settled in. More importantly, dispatch and 911 services were never interrupted during the move.

"We're thankful for Lyon County, who took over our 911 calls during the transition," Donahue explained. "We had calls rolled over to them for about four hours."

The reconstruction of the LEC has been a long time coming, but Donahue said he is glad they took the time to do it right.

"We put a lot of work into the plans, and the sheriff, (Mollema) and I really looked into what would work."

After the current dispatch center is renovated, the dispatchers will move back into the building. That should take an estimated 60 days, Donahue said. When the remodel is complete, the dispatchers will have expanded space. A computer lab for the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) will also be added. During Phase 2, the addition to house all the deputies will be added to the current building.

"They're actually supposed to begin digging the foundation for Phase 2 while still working on Phase 1," Donahue said. Currently, the construction contract states everything is to be done by the beginning of February.

The complicated part of the process, according to Murray County Sheriff Steve Telkamp, was trying to move while still working.

"But they actually have more room now then they did before," he added.

"It amazing how many people and how much stuff came out of such a small space," commented Christy Riley, who is in charge of Murray County Community Relations. "It's tiny in there."