A ribbon cutting and grand opening for Tarleton State University’s new Police Department headquarters—set Wednesday, July 19—continues the school’s yearlong 2017 centennial celebration as founding member of The Texas A&M University System.

A former city of Stephenville fire station, the new headquarters at the corner of Frey and Harbin streets will provide easier access to services and quicker response times. Ceremonies start at 10 a.m., followed by tours. The public is invited.

The move comes as the University Police Department celebrates its 50th anniversary. A letter asking for authorization to create a campus police force, signed by former Tarleton President W.O. Trogdon and System Chancellor Earl Rudder, won approval from the Texas Legislature on July 13, 1967.

In the half century since the original department came into existence, this marks the first time the department has had its own building, previously sharing office and administrative space in various locations on campus.

“That’s significant, psychologically,” said Tarleton Police Chief Matt Welch. “We’ve shared space at Davis Hall and Wisdom Gym. Now, we have our own place—one we can really be proud of.”

Renovations for the 4,300 square-foot facility started just over a year ago and included repurposing space to provide conference rooms, evidence and file storage, and office space for police and parking administration.

This spring, Welch placed a time capsule—filled with current artifacts, a group photo of officers and staff, a Tarleton Police Department uniform patch, a campus parking map and various news headlines—in a small, metal box inside a brick column of the renovated building.

“As we commemorate our 100th year as founding member of The Texas A&M University System and the 50th anniversary of the police department, we figured a time capsule would be a fitting tribute,” Welch said.