Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly came to College Point to break ground on the long-awaited project for a state-of-the-art police academy.
The ceremony, at site of the former NYPD Auto Pound, marks the first phase of the project, which includes an academic building, classrooms, tactical gyms, instructional offices and administrative support spaces and is expected to cost $750 million and create 2,000 construction jobs.
“This is a fitting way to begin closing out a banner year for the NYPD – reducing crime another 10.4 percent and keeping us the nation’s safest big city,” Mayor Bloomberg said at the ceremony on Wednesday, December 16. “They deserve a police academy equal to their accomplishments and dedication,” he added.
“As the Police Department has grown, so have the complexities of our mission,” Kelly said. “The new Police Academy will serve as an instruction site for generations of police officers, traffic agents and school safety agents, and includes advanced technology to enhance the world-class training already being provided by the Department.”
Borough President Helen Marshall welcomed the project and the cadet classes to come, saying “We are proud to be the new home of this academy. In addition to providing an increased police presence in this community, it will create construction and permanent jobs, while increasing local business activity and growth.”
When asked about direct benefits to the College Point community, Bloomberg said, “This is certainly a better use [of the land] than the car pound, which did nothing for College Point. The academy will do something – it remains to be seen how much.”
A cost estimate for the full academy project has not been finalized as some components of the project’s design are ongoing.
Once fully completed, the new police academy will sit on a 30-acre campus and be able to train approximately 2,000 recruits at any one time. It will consolidate training operations that are now scattered from Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.
In addition to all the high-tech facilities, it will have housing for visiting instructors, driver training fields and a 3,000-car parking garage.
The construction of the new academy is covered by one of the “Project Labor Agreements” between the city and the Building and Construction Trades Council announced in November.
Labor agreements made between the city and the Building and Construction Trades Council, will cover $5.3 billion in public projects comprising 32,000 construction jobs over the next four years.
By easing bidding requirements and standardizing work rules, construction costs at the police academy went down by approximately $30 million, according to the Mayor’s office.
“This is a project that has started and stalled through three previous city administrations, and now it is getting built,” Bloomberg said.