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Top Stories of 2011: New Home for Public Safety

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Was it worth the wait? There are still some bugs to be worked out, according to Village Manager Alfred Gatta, but the newly renovated and expanded Scarsdale Public Safety building opened in late October, a year late and some $2 million over budget.

The 87-year-old building presented challenges for the designers and contractors, according to village officials, which caused some of the delays and cost overruns. The building had presented other challenges because of its age, including no separate facilities for male and female officers and inadequate wiring for today's technical needs.

The move into the like-new facility was accomplished in three stages. The communications center was first, followed by the police, then the fire department.

Here's how The Daily Scarsdale reported the story:

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – There's a bit of the familiar to go with that new-office smell at 50 Tompkins Road as Scarsdale's police and firefighters go about their daily business. The agencies moved back into the building just in time for the Oct. 29 storm after more than two years of making do in temporary quarters.

The building, which was built in 1924 and last renovated in 1952, was supposed to be ready a year ago. And the project, originally bid at $13 million, came in around $15 million.

According to Detective Lt. Tom Altizio, there are still things to do to make the building 100 percent ready.

"There's still some things to do, and when we're done we'll have an open house," he said Thursday after an impromptu tour. He said the planned emergency center on the second floor is currently doubling as the construction headquarters. "When it's done there will be communications equipment and a smart board on the wall."

The first thing people see when entering the building is the communications center, which doubles as a reception desk, protected by thick bullet-proof glass. Prisoner intake, holding cells and the officers' turnout room and squad room are to the left, behind secure doors. The fire department is to the right. The chief's office is upstairs, along with training rooms and the emergency center.

While most of the building got a facelift, one part did not: the holding cells.

"You don't see cells like this" in newer buildings, Altizio said. The thick, gray, steel-bar cells still have key-locked doors. The tiny cells, not meant for long-term use, have stainless-steel toilets and sinks and a wooden bench.

Tomorrow, The Daily Scarsdale takes a look back at the Popham Road Bridge project and Scarsdale's 9/11 anniversary remembrance.

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