Bruce F. Griffin correspondent

COPLEY: Township trustees are working to sketch out a new police station.

The picture includes basics like weapons storage and training areas, but one that continues to evolve with changing needs.?

One example is the effect of a recent regional emergency dispatch service agreement between Copley, Norton and Barberton. Emergency dispatch currently run from the Copley department will be based in Norton.

That nevertheless raised a question. "Do we need a backup?" asked township Trustee Scott Dressler on Tuesday in a telephone interview, or perhaps space for an emergency command center?

Trustees previously commissioned a needs assessment by Horne and King Architects, a firm with offices in Columbus and Dublin, which specializes in public facilities such as police, fire and judicial and municipal buildings.

When trustees and township Police Chief Michael Mier are satisfied and space needs are agreed on, they are expected to be contained in a concept drawing that is likely to figure into cost of a new station on Sunset Drive off Copley Road.

Mier put that at roughly $5.4 million, which he said Wednesday is "not a firm figure." His department's roster includes 23 full-time and six part-time patrol officers.

The financing, Dressler, said, could either be through the sale of municipal bonds or an idea Trustee Helen Humphrys has been working on for some time, a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan.

While that might seem unusual for a federal agency that deals with agriculture "they loan money for government buildings," Humphrys said Wednesday. She said she has talked from time to time with agency officials, but for their application process "you have to have a plan in mind."?She estimated talks on the need for a new police station have been going on for four or five years.

During that time "everybody has just been doing their homework," Mier said. Moreover, other things cropped up that needed to be addressed.

Humphrys was upbeat about the progress of the discussions. "We're finally moving forward," she said.

Dressler estimated the process could take another "several months."