City Council members got their first glimpse of what the new Detroit Lakes Police Department building will look like at a late Monday afternoon work session.
Architect Bruce Schwartzman of BKV Group presented the council with a full set of preliminary schematic designs for the $6.7 million, 21,000-square-foot facility, which is slated to begin construction next spring. In addition, he talked quite a bit about the planning process that went into the design of the new facility, which included tours of police department facilities in Fergus Falls, Alexandria, Fargo and West Fargo, as well as the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
"The exterior will be a combination of stone and brick," said Schwartzman, noting that they had looked at nearby facilities such as the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center (which will be directly across Summit Avenue from the new building) in order to come up with a design that would blend in while still having some unique features. He added that they had tried to incorporate as much natural lighting into the design as possible.
As Schwartzman explained, the building will include two levels, with about 10,500 square feet of space in each. The lower level, which will actually be built underground, is projected to include a garage with 12 parking spaces for squad cars, as well as evidence storing and processing areas, weapons cleaning and armory, and mechanical and electrical rooms.
The upper level, which will be accessible by both stairs and elevator, will include something that the department has not really had before — separate locker room/changing areas for male and female officers.
Though Police Chief Steven Todd noted that the department currently has just one female officer, that could change in the future. Some discussion took place about whether it would be preferable to have one large, communal area for lockers to be used by all officers, with smaller changing rooms for men and women, or two clearly defined areas for each sex.
"We don't have to make a decision on that today," Todd said, adding that it was an issue they would need to revisit at some point in the planning process.
The upper level will also include a lobby and community room, with public restrooms, on the north side of the building, next to the public parking lot. Current plans call for the parking lot to have 39 spaces. Next to the lobby will be the reception area, with a partition separating staff work areas from the lobby that has safety glass installed.
In addition, there will be space for both investigative and patrol officers to have their own offices, two private interview rooms, a staff break room, roll call room and more.
Schwartzman said that the plans should take care of the police department's space needs for at least the next 25 to 30 years, but as Alderman Ron Zeman put it, "We're thinking 50 years rather than 25 to 30."
"With 21,000 square feet, there's a lot of room for growth in this structure," added City Administrator Kelcey Klemm.
Mayor Matt Brenk asked whether the building could be designed to accommodate the possible addition of a second story in the future. Schwartzman said that in another facility his firm had recently completed, accommodating this possibility had added about $300,000 to the overall cost.
Klemm added that "building out" would probably be a less expensive option than building up.
Schwartzman said that his firm would be working with city staff and building committee members over the next few months to finalize the designs for the new facility, with the bid opening slated for mid-March of next year. He added that he and his staff would most likely have at least one or two more meetings with the council between now and that time, to go over the final plans and any last-minute changes. Construction is expected to begin in late April/early May, with completion in February 2021.
The total $6.7 million budget, established through the local option sales tax that was approved to fund it, will include base construction costs of just over $5.7 million, plus just under $1 million in "soft" costs such as architect and engineering fees as well as other nonconstruction items like furniture and fixtures.