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Dirt Turned For Complex
It was a very brief ceremony ... but one that was a long time coming.

In fact, if you stopped by the site of the future Escalon Police Department a couple minutes after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, you had already missed the event.

Escalon City Council members dug in and turned the first ceremonial shovels full of dirt for the new police department facility at 2040 McHenry Ave. in a short ceremony on Wednesday. Mayor Walt Murken offered a few thoughts, noting that he was a member of the police force when it was in a roughly 1,000-square foot building near what is now the library, then made the move to the Coley Avenue location.

The police department has long since outgrown the space on Coley and will be the first of the city departments to move in to the new Civic Center site on McHenry. That building will be done first, in tandem with an upgrade to the department's dispatching, computer and 9-1-1 systems.

Bids for the work came in too high the first time, when it was sent out with both buildings included, so the second round saw a breakdown of the project into two separate parts, doing construction on the police department first. City hall, council chambers, building and planning, finance, recreation and engineering will go into the other building, at 2060 McHenry, when that part of the project is built out.

"This is something we can be proud of," Murken said as he and fellow council members got ready to turn the dirt. "This is a long time coming and well deserved."

Several city officials, police department members, and representatives from Escalon fire and ambulance squads were on hand for the ceremony, in addition to a number of department heads and city employees.

City Manager Greg Greeson said construction should start this week, with the 180-day contract time frame putting completion of the building sometime in mid-September.

The contract for construction was awarded to SW Allen Construction of Sacramento, at a cost of $1,973,901. The bid was the lowest of 18 submitted for the project.