TAUNTON (WBSM)—Taunton is about to undergo changes following a groundbreaking celebration for the city's new public safety facility.

On Wednesday, May 1, Mayor Shaunna O'Connell was joined by Taunton Police and Fire, elected officials and City of Taunton employees to break ground on the city's new public safety facility, which is expected to come in millions of dollars under budget.

Mayor O'Connell expressed how the new building will not only help bring safety to the city but also be an essential milestone for the city's future.

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"After decades of discussions and attempts, we are here to break ground on this new public safety facility that will help keep Taunton safe for decades to come. Building this modern public safety facility is an important milestone for Taunton's future," O'Connell said.

The city has not built a police station in over 110 years, which has left the Taunton Police Department to operate in temporary facilities for over 40 years.

When O'Connell ran for mayor, she promised to improve public safety and build a public safety facility, which has been needed for decades.

"For far too long, our police department has been operating in temporary and substandard facilities. We're grateful to Mayor O'Connell, the city council, and the people of Taunton for making this project a priority," Police Chief Edward Walsh said.

Last year, the city council approved O'Connell's plans, and the people of Taunton passed a ballot question in support. Now construction is officially underway.

The City of Taunton
Courtesy City of Taunton

Preparation for the construction of the new public safety facility has made significant progress over the past year. The demolition of the former Villa Fatima building was completed in November 2023, and a general contractor was awarded the project in April 2024.

Most recently, the project bids have come in $8 to $10 million below projections, which will save significant tax dollars.

The new public safety facility will house the Taunton Police Department, Taunton Fire Department headquarters, 911 Emergency Communications Center, a fire training building, and other essential services, streamlining operations in collaboration with first responders.

City of Taunton
Courtesy City of Taunton

Fire Chief Steve Lavigne also expressed his department's appreciation for the training facility they will now have access to.

"We are not currently able to do burn training in the city without an appropriate training facility. The new public safety facility will not only allow us to do our own burn training, but we'll also have classrooms for other types of training as well," he said.

90 County Street is now an active construction zone with restricted public access.

Construction on the new public safety facility is expected to be completed in approximately 20 months.

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