Bedford Town Council made progress, last week, toward getting the town’s police department out of the cellar.

They unanimously approved Wiley|Wilson, a Lynchburg-based architectural and engineering firm, to go ahead and start designing the building.

The police station will be built under a traditional design-bid-build procedure.

A new police station needs to be built as the old one is totally inadequate and the ventilation is so poor that it is unhealthy for the officers.

Actually, it is a bit mystifying as to why Bedford chose to put the police department in the cellar of the then new Municipal Building when it built it more than half a century ago.

When you go in and look the place over, it doesn’t seem like it could have ever been adequate.

Maybe it was, but it looks like Bedford was trying to do law enforcement on the cheap.

The dungeon is certainly not adequate now and Bedford needs to build a proper building to house an outstanding police department.

The problem is that now is a tough time to be constructing a major building.

We currently have the highest inflation in 40 years.

Construction costs are skyrocketing and it’s hard to predict how much this place will actually cost when they reach the point of bidding the work.

At Mayor Tim Black’s suggestion, Wiley|Wilson will come back to Council when they are 50% done with the design work.

At this point, they expect to have a good feel for how much the work will cost when the town puts the project out for bid.

Black asked for this break point in case the figure that starts emerging “scares us.”

At that stage, the firm will be able to work with the town to come up with things that could be eliminated from the design that will make the price tag less scary while still giving the town a police department building that will meet the department’s needs.

Obviously the police department needs more space.

They will also need good ventilation.

The town is in good financial shape and town officials have made good progress over recent years to lower the town’s debt.

Bedford should be able to afford to build an adequate police station.

However, while the town is in good shape, neither the town nor it’s citizens are made out of money.

It was wise of Black and Council to insert a break point so that they can take a look at it, with enough information to tell how much it will cost.

This allows adjustments without having to throw the whole thing out the door and start over.

The location is in a good spot.

It’s close to the municipal building and close to the courthouse.

Once finished, it should serve the town for years to come.

Hopefully the mid-way design point wont reveal anything that frightens Council and Bedford can finally get this project done.