LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined Arkansas State Police officials and commissioners Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of a $2.8 million troop headquarters in Warren.

The new facility in Bradley County will be the headquarters for Troop F, replacing a 74-year-old building that was among the first four Arkansas State Police headquarters built after the state Legislature created the agency in 1935. The building originally housed the headquarters of what was then known as District 4.

Troop F serves Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Cleveland, Dallas, Drew, Ouachita and Union counties.

Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant said in a news release from the agency, “This is an exciting time for the Arkansas State Police as we begin an extensive building program this year to replace antiquated headquarters not only here but in Newport, Forrest City, Harrison and Springdale.

“While the Warren headquarters has had several face-lifts over the years, it’s time for a modern facility that will serve our troopers and the citizens of south Arkansas for many years to come,” he said.

Hutchinson said in the release, “I am honored to participate in this ceremony and to express my appreciation for the hard work of state troopers who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.”

Troop F has 26 state troopers and six telecommunications personnel under the command of Capt. Charles Hubbard.

The new headquarters will cover 11,041 square feet, more than twice the size of the existing facility. The building also will house offices for the special agents of the agency’s Criminal Investigation and Crimes Against Children divisions.

Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2018.