The new Tullahoma Police Department will take inspiration from city hall when it comes to design, according to Architect Allen Hill of Upland Design Group (UDG).

Hill recently shared the proposed plans for the new police station in an open house meeting at city hall on Monday, Dec. 10, allowing members of the public and those who work inside the city’s main government building to look at what will be constructed behind their current workplace.

According to Hill, UDG has been working with Tullahoma Police Chief Paul Blackwell for nearly a year on what features the new department will contain.


Department needs

Among the chief needs of the city’s police force is space. Blackwell has stated in the past that the police department has vastly outgrown the space it currently occupies and officers need more room to perform their daily operations.

That need is more than adequately addressed in the new building. According to Hill, the new police department will span about 14,000 square feet over two different levels.

There will be numerous offices, interview rooms and meeting rooms, as well as a completely revitalized public lobby area.

One of the current safety issues the department experiences is the lack of a public restroom, according to Blackwell. Because the only restroom is located behind a secure door in the department, there is constantly traffic in and out of the door, which increases risks to officers.

The new lobby will include separate interview rooms for anyone needing to talk to an officer, as well as the public restroom.

There will be separate parking for the public and for officers, with department vehicles stored behind a secure gate in a fenced-in area. There will also be a covered parking area which will help keep vehicles safe from the elements should officers need quick access to squad cars.

Another paramount need Blackwell specified was a large multipurpose room which would serve as the main training area. This space would be for most training and various meetings, as well as have the ability to be transformed into the emergency operations center in the event of any natural disaster or emergency situation.

The new building would also see the police memorial stone moved from its current home at South Jackson Civic Center to the new station. The memorial would be located alongside an American flagpole just outside the doors of the new station.


Design features

One of the main goals in the design process, according to Hill, was to avoid a making the new police station look or feel like a “fortress.”

“We wanted it to be something that the public was proud of; we didn’t want it to look like a fortress,” he said.

In keeping with a similar aesthetic to the current city hall, the new police station will feature a similar red brick base with white stone-appearing top section.

“We wanted the building to have some relationship with the existing city hall,” Hill said. “At the time that the city hall was built, it had red brick and white stone … that was something that was of that building’s time. We were trying not to copy that.”

Instead, the building will take design elements inspired by city hall.

“We wanted to do something that just picked up a little bit of the flavor and a little bit of the feel of the existing building,” Hill said.

In order to make the building seem more inviting, Hill said lots of natural light is being utilized.

“We wanted the building to be open and attractive to the public,” he said.

Large glass windows around the stair areas will allow significant amounts of natural light into the building while also keeping the privacy of those inside intact.

The glass will feature a frosted coating which will protect the privacy of anyone inside while also allowing the light to come in from the sun.

The building is also being designed with future expansion in mind, Hill said. Two sides of the building will feature windows that can be taken out and transformed into doorways, should the department grow exponentially in the next few decades.

The front of the building would be moved from along West Grundy Street to facing the current city hall building behind the alley that separates the building and the police parking area.

More information on the upcoming police station can be found below:

Erin McCullough may be reached at