Work is expected to start this month on a $250,000 project to upgrade the Fairview Park Police Department locker room, which will include separate facilities for women for the first time.

The existing facilities were built in 1967 and did not have separate areas for women. Female officers and staff must dress in a windowless, 6-by-12-foot corridor with no attached bathroom. The new facilities will include six lockers for women and 27 for men, as well as upgraded bathrooms, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

“Other than a coat of paint a few years ago, there hasn’t been any work done on the locker rooms for many years,” Police Chief Erich Upperman said. “There is a definite need for improvements.”

Locker room facilities for the department’s two female officers as well as clerks and auxiliary officers have been needed for several years, Upperman said.

The new locker room facilities for men are also needed, he said.

“We have tiles cracking and coming up, the heating and air conditioning isn’t up to par and it isn’t designed to handle modern police department equipment and needs,” Upperman said.

Workers will remediate asbestos and demolish the locker room area before work on the new locker rooms begins. Asbestos remediation means addressing the underlying problem so it doesn’t happen again.

While the new facilities are being built, temporary locker room facilities will be set up in an inactive firing range. Upperman said the Greater Cleveland Young Marines group based in Fairview Park helped clean out the area to accommodate the temporary lockers.

The long-term goal is to bring the firing ranges back into use, but that isn’t part of this project, Upperman said.

The project has been delayed because initial bids came in too high, he said.

The city awarded the contract to Cornice Construction of Fairlawn. The female locker room will be paid for with a $50,000 Cuyahoga County grant. The remaining $200,000 will come from city capital improvement funds.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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