Study provides first cost estimates for new police station
It will cost the city from $831,000 to nearly $1.3 million to relocate the Tonganoxie Police Station to one of three sites reviewed in a feasibility study.
The report from Wilson Estes Police Architects, a firm specializing in law enforcement facilities, studied three properties: the former Annie’s Country Jubilee, the closed video store at 302 Shoemaker Road and city-owned property at Third and Main streets. The firm reviewed the renovations needed and the cost to make the two existing buildings functional modern police headquarters while also providing the same information about a new building built on city-owned property.
The estimated costs associated with each site are:
• $830,950 for the 5,500-square-foot former video store.
• $1.264 million for the 8,500-square-foot Annie’s building.
• $1.294 million for a new station on city property at Third and Main streets.
The cost of purchase is included in the estimates for Annie’s and the closed video store.
Although the Tonganoxie City Council has yet to discuss the study, the expense of the estimates probably surprised council members. In September, the council chose to forego consideration of remodeling the former Right Choice building in the Urban Hess Industrial Park as a dual police headquarters and second fire station at the estimated cost of $633,228 and a quoted price of $582,000 for the building.
Mayor Jason Ward said Monday the estimates were higher than anticipated but said they were developed by specialists in police station design and construction.
“I think it’s going to be pretty educational,” he said. “I don’t know if I had any expectations until we got to the point we went and asked someone in that business. We had to have that context before we could move forward.”
Progress on another expected city expenditure should make council members more comfortable with the cost of a new police station, Ward said.
“We now know what we are looking at for developing the industrial park,” he said. “We significantly reduced that number with the Port Authority’s commitment, and I think the county will partner, as well.
“Hopefully that will reduce some of the stress of the police station.”
The police station feasibility study was to be discussed at the Dec. 27 Tonganoxie City Council meeting. However, that meeting was canceled because of lack of a quorum and the agenda on the rescheduled Dec. 29 meeting was limited to bill payments, the city administrator search and other city personnel matters related to Assistant City Administrator Kathy Bard’s medical leave.
The feasibility study now is one of two items, along with the city administrator search, on the agenda for Wednesday’s special council meeting.
Ward said his goal for the council during that meeting was to evaluate all three buildings studied and the costs associated with them. The council could agree to move forward with one of those sites or agree to get the same information on three other buildings proposed to the city since the feasibility study was authorized. Those are the former post office building downtown, the former bank building immediately to its south on the corner of Delaware and Fourth streets and the building on Laming Road in the Urban Hess Industrial Park owned by Steve LaForge.
“I don’t think standing pat is an option,” Ward said. “Just from an operational standpoint, we need to put those guys in a better place to do their business.”
The feasibility study reinforced that view. After working with Chief Jeff Brandau and the department, the architects said the department needed a minimum of 5,500 square feet, or 4,200 square feet more than the current station provides.
The crammed space does not allow room for adequate storage or the conducting of police procedures by modern standards, the study found. It also found the station’s bathrooms did not meet ADA requirements and the station lacked a secured entrance and other security features.
Features built into all sites studied not currently available to the department include such things as a sheltered sally port for loading and unloading prisoners, two private interview rooms, a holding room and men and women’s lockers and shower space.
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