The construction of the new police station in Harrisonville is moving along on schedule.
Assistant Director of Public Works Eric Patterson said Monday crews are only about three days behind schedule due to heavy rains earlier in the spring, but contractors are confident that they’ll be able to make those days up in order to complete the 12,600-square-foot facility by their Nov. 15 completion target.
“So far, everything I’ve seen has been very good,” Patterson said. “Because the superintendent is a resident of Harrisonville, and has been for a number of years, he is watching it very closely because he knows everybody in town knows him, and his name will be associated with the building.”
The new station is being built directly behind the city’s existing police station, northeast of the Square.
Zahner Hansen Construction Group, of Brentwood, Tenn., was hired in February by the city to provide contract labor and site preparation for a new police station. The group then hired Jody Cotton, a Harrisonville resident, to oversee the project locally, and is also utilizing local sub-contractors when available. To date, the construction, which began in March, has had $8,000 in change orders, but Patterson said that figure is nominal in a project of this capacity.
Police Chief John Hofer is naturally excited about the new building.
“It’s going to be a much bigger building, and it’s actually a building being built for a police station,” he said.
In the past, the space has been used as a car dealership and a bus depot, among other things.
The new police station will significantly increase the amount the department’s existing 3,000-square-foot of office space and will eliminate a host of ongoing maintenance needs in the city’s current building, which was built in the 1920s, approximately.
Once the completed, the project is estimated to cost under $2 million, which includes the $1.4 million contract award to Zahner Hansen, and contracts for new radios and security features, which are expected to come before the Board of Alderman in about a month.
Patterson said both city hall and the police station buildings are old, and out-of-date. The city has been looking to rebuild for a number of years.
At the current police station, basement flooding and cooling control are among some of the city’s concerns.
“Last summer, I don’t know if (Hofer’s) office ever dropped below 85 degrees, and through the middle of the day, it was in the mid-90s,” Patterson said. “The basement also leaks. It’s very inadequate.”
Hofer said the air conditioner is not sufficient in several areas of the building.
“That’s a fixable problem, however, you also have a very deteriorating building,” Hofer said. “It’s gotten to the point where it is unsafe. There are a lot of problems, and you can only put so many band-aids on it.”
Hofer said if the property wasn’t a city building, it’s likely it would have been condemned.
“There are areas you can walk in and you could fall through the floor,” he said. “There are things that fall off of the sides of building. It’s unsafe.”
There has also been a number of discussions of where the station should be built, Patterson.
“The discussion has been going on for years, but it didn’t go into earnest about two or three years ago when the aldermen decided they were going to appropriate the funds to build it,” he said.
A city-owned site near the library was considered for a new location, but Patterson said the aldermen thought it was very important that the police station stayed downtown.
Former Public Works Director Steve Rauscher led the way for seeing the new police station come to existence before he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2012.
One of the main features of the new facility includes a FEMA-rated room, enclosed with concrete, that will house dispatch operators, the station’s evidence room, as well as the city’s computer servers.
In the event of a disaster, Patterson said it’s the city’s hope that the dispatch staff could still function with the addition of the safe room.
“One of things that is never good is to have your evidence contaminated,” Patterson said, “And in the event of an emergency, we can get the city up and running faster.”
The enclosed space will be surrounded with a steel building and include offices for the police chief, detectives, sergeants and a conference room.
To the east of the building, crews will also be building a sallyport to be utilized when taking prisoners in and out of the station or to impound a vehicle for evidence.
The new station will feature a steel building design, with a brick storefront design along the side of the building facing the west, on Lexington.
The public entrance to the new station will be located on west side on the building, and a new parking lot, consisting of about two dozen spots, is being developed behind the new station for police employees to park.
Patterson said the existing police station will be demolished when the money becomes available.