By Olga Pena

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE – The city is one step closer – a big one.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the city's new police facility was conducted Thursday.

"It's a big start for us. We're looking forward to having a new place to call home," said police Lt. Daniel Austin.

The new 33,000-square-foot police facility, at the intersection of Avenue E and Fourth Street, is scheduled to be completed within a year, Austin said. "It will be a real nice place. We're really excited."

At a recent City Council workshop, Police Chief Tim Molnes updated the council about the building's plans.

The facility, which will have adequate space for future growth, will accommodate a full-size jail, meeting room, emergency operations center and a dispatch center.

The two-level facility will sit on 2.5 acres of land purchased from the Copperas Cove Independent School District in September 2007 and an additional half-acre purchased from McMullan Construction the following month.

In 2004, the estimated cost was $8.97 million. The estimated cost, including furniture, rose to $9.98 million this year.

Before the November election, $6.3 million had already been secured. When residents approved the Proposition 1 tax hike, it made up the additional $3.7 million in funding for the new facility.

The tax rate will increase from .74 to .76 through 2012.

On Thursday, Austin said the groundbreaking is not only momentous for the police department, but also for the entire city.

"It's for the whole city really," Austin said. "The voters voted it in. It's their building."

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