Police prep for new home

Feb 042007

Fort Collins Police Services is anxious to move to a new home – an independent facility that officials say will take them into the 21st century.

“We have a long-range plan for it,” said Rita Davis, project manager for the site. “We designed it so it would still be current in the next 20 years.”

With completion targeted for August, the building is set to be the first ever erected solely for police services in Fort Collins.

“Having our own building and state-of-the-art police facility will help police operations to be more efficient,” she said.

New features in the $33 million-facility will include a Fort Collins Police Museum, an eight-cell detention center and an enhanced crime laboratory.

Tax dollars covered $1.8 million of the project, for the purchase of a lot about four miles from campus. The building itself is being financed from funds in the regular city budget.

Controversy has swirled around the building since the planning stages. The main concerns of those opposed to the construction regard its cost, size — it’s about three times as large as the old facility – and its distance from town.

For former mayor and ex-police officer Ray Martinez, the completion of the facility means the end of a long battle.

“When I was mayor in 1999 I took it on as a campaign issue because of all of the broken promises,” he said.

Marty Thorp, an ex-City Council representative of District 5, supports the building and said it’s long overdue.

“The older facility is totally inadequate,” she said. “It is a mess. Some people might think the new facility is too grand, but considering the size of the force and the town, it is needed.”

Besides enhancing police operations, Davis says the building is intended to be community oriented. It is supposed to create a partnership between the police force and the community by housing a police museum.

“We want to make the building a destination point for the public instead of just a place to report a crime,” she said. “We want people to be able to bring their families and have a place to go for history. We are trying to break down the barrier and bring the public in.”

The building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, certified for energy efficiency. The construction of the new energy efficient building on West Timberline road has just reached above the halfway mark with 60 percent now completed.

Fort Collins resident Christopher Bowluss warmed to the idea of increased community development.

“I might bring my two little daughters to the police museum. I want my children to have a positive view of the police,” Bowluss said. “The community needs to know who their police force is.”

But Dianna Chriswell, a Fort Collins resident, thinks differently.

“I think a police station is where criminals should be kept and we should not have a fun time there,” she said. “The location for fun is not at a jail.”

Davis says that a grand opening celebration will occur but the date is yet to be announced.

Staff Writer Taryn Clark can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Infobox facts:

Location: West Timberline Road, north of Drake Road. Surrounding streets are named after fallen policemen. The east/west street on south side is named after Charles Brockman. The north/south street on west side is named after Joseph Allen.

Overall Cost: $33 million

Size: 98,000 square feet, 10.79 gross acre parcel (7.536 net acres)

Groundbreaking: March 30, 2006

Targeted completion date: August 1, 2007

Represents: partnership between community and police force.

Key features: 1900 square foot community room, Fort Collins Police Museum, enhanced crime lab, emergency operations center, property and evidence processing and storage, communications center, training facilities, detention center with eight cells.

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