I encourage the city to separate the new public safety building into two facilities, build the police station as soon as practical, and delay completing the design and construction of the fire station for five to eight years.
We need a new police station immediately. The fire station is still serviceable. Many fire departments would be thrilled to have a building as good as that one.
The two departments are under the umbrella of public safety, but they are very distinct entities. They are not like the integrated city hall where various department personnel interact frequently on a face-to-face basis from one room to another to make being under one roof much more efficient and cost-effective.
The current public safety building design calls for separate entrances, lobbies, kitchens, living spaces, restrooms, offices, conference rooms, etc. The only common-use area is the exercise room, which is in the police section.
The design team said at a recent committee meeting that it was having trouble joining the two buildings. Currently, it is a very awkward junction.
It is good to have the two departments on the same parcel and it is smart to complete the modified 35 percent design now for both facilities. However, it would be much more practical for department functions to build separate buildings for these services. It could also create a financially affordable solution to our urgent need for a new police station.