Construction is set to begin later this year on a $3.5 million expansion of the Whitehall Division of Police headquarters, 365 S. Yearling Road, at the cost of a city gazebo -- at least for a short time.

The project's timeline is uncertain, but it probably won't begin until May, said Megan Meyer, community affairs-manager for Whitehall.

The gazebo that was just north of the police station already has been removed in preparation for the project, Meyer said, but it will be replaced when the work is finished.

A new gazebo made of materials that are easier to maintain will take the old structure's place, Meyer said.

The 13,000-square-foot addition largely will be built onto the north side of the existing building, Meyer said.

Parking for the police station will be added on the former site of Minuteman Pizza on the west side of South Yearling Road, north of Doney Street. That building will be demolished later this year, Meyer said.

"The expansion will entail a new state-of-the-art emergency dispatch center and emergency operations center, an updated reception office and additional space for police officers," Meyer said.

The scope and size of the project are subject to change, pending the results of requests for proposals from contractors yet to be received by the city, Meyer said.

The project includes technology upgrades of about $1 million, Meyer said.

The expansion would have multiple benefits for the division, said Whitehall police Chief Mike Crispen.

"The increased space will provide (additional space for) report-writing and evidence-processing," Crispen said, along with a "state-of-the-art dispatch center and improved customer-service capabilities."

The expansion would increase the area of the emergency-operations center and would double the space for evidence storage, Crispen said.