DARTMOUTH — What was once the Gidley School in Dartmouth will morph into a brand new police station over the next year or so.

The Town of Dartmouth broke ground Tuesday on the Town's new police headquarters on Tucker Road over a year after residents voted to approve funding for the building's construction.

Acting Police Chief Brian Levesque says after much preparation, he's excited to see the project actually begin to take shape.

"I'm extremely excited to be out here, finally, on site after a tremendous amount of hours and planning, looking at drawings," said Levesque. "To be standing here today with dirt piles and machinery, [it's a] tremendous experience. There's a lot more work to be done, but we're certainly up to the task."

The Dartmouth Police Department has been operating out of modular buildings since 2014, when Legionnaire's disease was found in the water of the former station on Russells Mills Road.

After jumpstarting the effort to get the project underway, Dartmouth Police Chief Robert Szala helped break ground on the new station. Chief Szala credited town residents for pushing the project forward, after they approved funding for the approximately $9 million station last year.

"One thing we could always count on was how the people of Dartmouth came out whenever the police department needed anything for their support. And I really appreciate that," said Szala.

Chief Szala suffered a heart attack last year, and after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery, will be formally retiring this summer with Acting Chief Brian Levesque assuming command.

The new station at the site of the former Gidley School is expected to be completed by the end of next summer.