A new $21 million, 55,000-square foot Houston Police Department Southwest substation broke ground Thursday, Dec. 17 on the western edge of Cambridge Village Park.

District K Councilman Larry Green called it “a long-awaited commemorative event” to ensure that police officers are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

The new Southwest substation will replace the one on Beechnut inside Loop 610 which has been serving the community since 1961. Green stressed that the new station’s strategic location in the 13000 block of Nitida at Brookston will have a positive impact on response times in Police Beats 15 and 16.

HPD Executive Assistant Chief Michael Dirden said the driving distance to transport someone to the Fort Bend County and Harris County jails from that part of town can take an officer off the street for a significant amount of time. The new substation is more than just a building, he said, and added, ” it’s an opportunity to serve you better in 2017.”

Richard Vela of the City’s General Services Department said that, along with Councilman Green, his department was responsible for bringing all the stakeholders together to help make the substation happen. Of the 85 acres that make up Cambridge Village Park, 13.8 acres were donated by the Parks and Recreation Department for the new facility.

The project, which was designed by Roth Sheppard Architects of Denver, will include 100 parking spaces for officers and the public, a much-needed community room to seat 112 people, and enough extra space to possibly accommodate two satellite courts in the future. The LEED-certified building with 100 percent LED lighting will be one of the top sustainable buildings in the city, Vela said.

Construction is set to begin in February or March, 2016, and completion is expected in June or July, 2017.

Green said the money saved by utilizing existing park space for the project showed the city can be smart about leveraging resources. The savings can be directed toward additional improvements, he added.

Representatives from the Five Corners Board of Directors, the Hiram Clarke Storefront Association, and other neighborhood groups were on hand to witness the turning of the dirt at the site of the new facility. The band from Parker Elementary School provided holiday music, as well as contemporary and classic rock tunes.