Here is what the new town centre police station in Wrexham will look like.
Work was given the go-ahead by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
According to Mr Jones, a former police inspector who served in Wrexham during his career, it will keep a range of vital frontline facilities in the heart of the town.
The 14-month scheme will see the former Oriel Gallery at Wrexham Library transformed into a state-of-the-art station.
It will provide the full range of “front of house” services in the town centre while the divisional headquarters along with back-up activities are moved to a new command and custody base in Llay.
Both new facilities will replace the present Wrexham headquarters based in a 1970s tower block at Bodhyfryd which is no longer fit for purpose.
The site is being sold off with the building earmarked for demolition.
The former gallery has been made available to North Wales Police on a 10-year leasing arrangement with Wrexham County Borough Council.
The transformation, which is being handled by Mold based contractors MPH Construction Ltd, is scheduled to begin next Monday May 15, and take 44 weeks to complete by July next year.
The new station is then due to open its doors to the public for the first time in August 2018.
After being given a guided tour of the site, Mr Jones, himself a former police inspector, said: “I am very impressed by what I have been shown today.
“I have carefully followed this project right from its inception and it is especially pleasing that it offers the opportunity to keep the full range of frontline response services right in the heart of Wrexham town centre.
“The present headquarters building is well past its usefulness and it’s been extremely difficult and expensive to keep the fabric properly maintained.
“While the Eastern Divisional police headquarters is being moved into a purpose-built new base in Llay along with a range of back-up services, I believe it has been of absolute importance to see that frontline services are retained as close as possible to Wrexham town centre.”
Mr Jones added: “Based in the new station will be the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, the response teams for the central area along with both the supervision sergeant and inspector.
“The station will also be equipped with the very latest equipment to make for the swiftest possible response and detection of crime.
“It’s all about keep policing right at the heart of the community to provide a better and more comprehensive service for people living, working and visiting the Wrexham area.
“It’s also good to see that we are using contractors who are based in North Wales and the whole project will be good for the procurement of goods and services from local companies.”
Inspector Paul Wycherley, who is in charge of Wrexham town centre policing, agreed with the Commissioner about the many benefits of the new station will bring.
He said: “The inspector and the sergeant for the town centre will both based at the new station as will the Wrexham Safer Neighbourhood Team and the patrol officers who provide 24/7 cover for the area.
“Altogether 90 staff will report there with about 25 of them working at any one time.
“The current headquarters building at Bodhyfryd was at the end of its useful life and maintaining it for the past seven or eight years was becoming more of a challenge.
“I’m looking forward to the prospect of putting my officers into a modern, state-of-the-art station and we’re now counting the days until we can start providing our services from there.
“It’s going to be a modern 21st century facility from which we will be able to provide high quality policing to the people of Wrexham.”
The new station will occupy two floors in what had been the Oriel Gallery, next door to Wrexham Library, which has now moved to Chester Street in the town.
Andrew Foster, site manager for MPH Construction, said: “The project to transform the building to its new use will be carried out over two floors and have two phases.
“In the first phase we will infill the present courtyard in the centre and create a new entrance for the café which will remain next to the library.
“We will then concentrate on remodelling the old gallery area and add on a large extension at the far end of the building.
“We will be completely refurbishing the existing structure, which dates back to the 1970s, and putting in numerous offices, meeting and interview rooms.
“The project will also see us oversee the installation of all mechanical and electrical fittings including the IT equipment with which we’ll be working closely with specialists from North Wales Police.
“We have previously worked successfully on a number of projects for North Wales Police and we’re looking forward to starting work on this one which will be of the very latest design when it is finished in July of next year.”