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State police memorial service

A memorial stone stands in front of the Lowell State Police Post honoring all of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

EVANSVILLE — The State Budget Committee on Wednesday approved spending for a new state police facility at Lowell and mechanical system improvements at the Anderson Library and Conference Center on the Indiana University Northwest campus in Gary.

The approximately $15 million new state police building will become the District 13 headquarters at Lowell.

It will be constructed adjacent to the existing structure that's set to be repurposed for support programs and evidence storage, according to State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.

Carter said the decision to replace the police building followed a system-wide assessment that determined the Lowell facility lacked the capacity to meet current and future caseload demands.

In contrast, the new building will be energy efficient, provide necessary space for both staff and lab processing and ensure operational functionality.

"It's an exciting day," Carter said.

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, the sole Region representative on the five-member panel that oversees significant state spending when the General Assembly is not in session, applauded the decision to replace the Northwest Indiana state police post.

"I know that facility in Lowell is looking a little shabby," Tallian said.

Likewise, the aging mechanical systems and controls for the Indiana University Northwest library will be getting a $6 million upgrade.

Tom Morrison, IU vice president for capital planning and facilities, told the committee that the system improvements and associated interior fixes, such as bulkhead and ceiling replacements, are the first phase of a planned comprehensive renovation of the largest facility on the Gary campus.

Both projects use funds included in the two-year state budget enacted by the 2017 General Assembly and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The Budget Committee separately authorized the Kankakee River Basin Commission to spend $600,000 from the Build Indiana Fund to restore riverbank levees damaged by spring flooding, and to coordinate with Illinois communities on future flood prevention strategies.

The Kankakee River is the southern border of Lake and Porter counties as it flows into Illinois.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.