— The Walker Police Department and city administration employees will have more room to work after the City Council approved the lease and purchase of modular buildings for additional space.

Chief of Operations Fred Raiford said the spaces currently in use are not ideal, with Police Department employees in particular being “stacked on top of each other” as they work.

“In fact, some of the evidence I saw the other day, shoved up into closets, it’s just no way in the world you can meet certain requirements,” Raiford told the City Council on Feb. 8. “But more importantly, you have some of your officers trying to fill out reports or speak to somebody personally that can’t without somebody walking through.”

Raiford said city officials had looked at a variety of options and found they could purchase a 24-foot by 44-foot modular building for about $55,000, including skirting, setup and delivery.

A three-year lease on a second building for the Police Department would cost $960 per month, Raiford said.

Mayor Rick Ramsey said the city plans to lease the officers’ new space because officials are now in negotiations for a new location for City Hall. If the negotiations are fruitful, the Police Department could move into the current City Hall after the administration moves out.

“Hopefully that will happen, and there would be no reason for us to put another permanent structure at the PD,” Ramsey said. “If it falls through and we still have to stay there, we can always look at a purchase for the remainder price of the building at the end of three years, and they’re always open for that.”

The lease cannot be broken if the deal for a new City Hall location goes through sooner, Ramsey said.

“But if that’s the case, which I don’t expect it to be, but if it was, we would able to use that building for a satellite branch or something else,” Ramsey said.

Raiford said he had already examined the site where officials plan to put the modulars and running utilities should not be a problem.

“Our staff will do most of the work, except for the electrical,” he said.

The modular buildings are rated to withstand 140 mph winds, with 2-foot by 6-foot floor joists and 2-foot by 4-foot wall studs.

“They’re not built light-frame but are heavy-duty modular buildings,” Ramsey said.

The council authorized Ramsey to move forward with the lease. Budget adjustments to cover the expenses will come before the council for adoption at the council’s March meeting.

Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen, and call her at (225) 336-6981.