For the past 12 years, the shell of the all-but-forgotten former home of the Southampton Village Police Department has sat vacant, perched above Village Hall, quietly looking down onto Main Street.
The days of the old hustle-and-bustle, when the men and women in blue occupied the second and third floors of Village Hall, are long over—the police left the building in 2001 for a then-newly constructed facility on Windmill Lane—but pieces of the old headquarters remain in the gutted upper floors of the roughly 100-year-old building. Amid the bare walls and the stripped floors, an old metal-bar jail cell door lies abandoned on its side, while a police poster still adorns one of the red brick, arch-patterned walls.
But all that is about to change. Later this month, a long-awaited renovation project—which is being paid for through a $500,000 bond also used to refurbish the Lake Agawam memorial— will revitalize the two floors, each roughly 3,100 square feet, and install an elevator. Once it is finished, the village plans to move the building inspectors office, currently on Hill Street, to Village Hall.
According to Village Mayor Mark Epley, the project is starting now, toward the end of the summer, to minimize impact to Main Street businesses during the busy season. “We do not want to lose parking spaces for construction or interfere with outdoor dining,” he said earlier this summer.
As part of the project, which is estimated to take 10 months to complete, the second floor will get new drywall on all walls and new carpeting. It will be divided into several offices, a conference room, computer and telephone center, and a customer service area.
The third floor will be renovated by whichever tenant takes over the space, the mayor said. Although nothing is final, the village is in negotiations with the Peconic Public Broadcasting radio station, which may use the space for its administrative offices. Representatives from the radio station were not available for comment this week.
Most of the renovation work, including drywalling and carpet installation, will be completed by village employees, but specialists will be hired to install new HVAC and fire suppression systems.
According to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch, the first phase of the renovation project will be to install an elevator in the front corner of Village Hall that will reach all three floors. The elevator project is slated to begin at the end of August. The elevator shaft will be installed by JAID Construction of Richmond Hill at a cost of $65,000, and the elevator itself will be installed by All-Ways Elevator in Bohemia for $55,000.
While the elevator shaft is being installed, the Main Street entrance to Village Hall will be closed off, and one village parking space, located in a municipal lot behind Village Hall, will be used to house a Dumpster for debris.
“We are trying to use as much of our own resources as possible,” Mr. Funsch said of the renovation project. “The time frame for the project depends on the winter we have, but we are trying to use our own staff as much as we can.”