Construction is officially underway on the Santa Clarita Valley’s first new sheriff’s station in more than 45 years, as city and county officials gathered Wednesday for the groundbreaking of the highly anticipated facility on Golden Valley Road. “This project has been a long time coming,” Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste said to the crowd gathered at Wednesday’s groundbreaking. “And I am thrilled that we are breaking ground on the future site of a 46,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sheriff’s station today.” Weste said the site, 26201 Golden Valley Road, was chosen as a central location within the Santa Clarita Valley. The 46,461-square-foot building, with a helipad, will replace the current building at 23640 Magic Mountain Parkway, which was built in 1972. The new station is a collaborative effort by the city of Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County and the county’s Sheriff’s Department. The total project cost is approximately $62.9 million. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell was also present at the groundbreaking, calling the day a milestone. The current service area of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has a population of approximately 293,000, which is six times greater than the valley’s population in 1972, when the station was built, he said. McDonnell also praised the local deputies for bringing the crime rate down 21 percent from last year’s. Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger thanked SCV deputies for their services and making the region safer. She also emphasized the importance of community collaboration and partnerships. “This station is symbolic of the fact that we must work together,” she said. SCV Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Lewis said he “would not be standing here without the support and appreciation of local deputies.” “When you’re in the community and see (sheriff’s station) personnel, I ask that you applaud them and shake their hands,” he said. The event ended with all the local officials, including City Manager Ken Striplin, Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean, City Councilman Cameron Smyth, Councilman Bob Kellar and Councilman Bill Miranda, shoveling dirt in celebration of the groundbreaking. Grading is projected to be done by January. Construction is on schedule to begin in April 2019, after the grading is complete. The building would likely be completed by July 2020, and ready for deputies to move in by the fall of 2020, said Robert Newman, director of the city’s Public Works Department.