Talks deepen on new police station

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McCordsville officials are exploring moving the town’s police station, currently located at Town Hall, into a new, larger space.

McCORDSVILLE – Town leaders now have a better idea of what a new police station needs to look like and are preparing to assemble a team capable of helping them move plans forward.

The current police station in McCordsville spans about 1,800 square feet in Town Hall and employs 15 full-time officers, with five more anticipated by the end of next year.

As the town’s population grows, so too must public safety, prompting the need for a bigger station. Officials have identified a location for it off the north side of West CR 750N on the south side of the upcoming McCord Square project – a mixed-use development that’s kicking off McCordsville’s town center vision.

This summer the town enlisted K2M Design, an Indianapolis architecture firm, to conduct a feasibility study for a new station. Scott Maloney, an architect with the company, briefed McCordsville officials on that effort at a town council meeting last month.

Maloney recalled how the firm carried out a needs assessment by interviewing police leadership, collecting data and applying population projections for the town. Having a goal of two police department employees (including civilian staff) for every 1,000 residents informed the kinds of spaces, sizes of those spaces, number of employees and what kinds of employees would be needed, he said.

McCordsville’s population is projected to surpass 40,000 by 2050, resulting in an anticipated police department workforce of 73, 37 of whom would be road patrol officers.

The goal is to develop a building that would accommodate the town for at least the next 20 years, Maloney continued, which would get the potential project through a standard financing period and allow leaders to ascertain whether the town’s population really grows as projected. He added the station would also be designed to be expandable.

After crunching all of the data and applying all of the necessary information, the recommended size of the potential new station comes out to about 15,000 square feet.

“That will get us through that 20-plus-year time frame, and we all kind of felt that was a good planning period so we don’t have to overbuild and we also don’t under-build and then have to do this again in the very near future, especially as the community continues to grow,” Maloney said.

Total cost estimates range from over $9.3 million to over $11.4 million. Maloney said the wide range is due to how volatile material costs currently are and to give officials varying senses of how elaborate the station could be depending on their preferences and budget.

“I think it’s important for the public to understand this is step one of a longer process,” McCordsville town manager Tim Gropp said. “The purpose of this was: What do we need? Does it fit the spot that we’ve identified, and, in general, what would something like this cost? … From here, we know it fits, we know how many square feet we need. We’re balking at the price right now, and so we’ve got to look at our options. We haven’t dug into: Can we do it? What are the actual costs?”

Greg Brewer, a town council member, agreed.

“There’s no question of the need,” he said. “The site’s ideal for what we need, but it always gets down to: Can you pay for it?”

The council voted to issue a request for proposals and qualifications that welcomes responses from companies town officials will vet to create a team capable of scoping, designing, building and temporarily operating the project before transferring it to the town.

Maloney also recalled the visioning session held with members of the police department and other stakeholders, which resulted in several goals for the project, including having a building that’s safe and secure. Due to the prominence the location is expected to gain as the town center develops, other objectives include being aesthetically pleasing, built from quality materials requiring low maintenance and having a prominent and inviting entrance.

A station that attracts and retains staff while providing a supportive atmosphere for them and ensuring their well-being are also among the goals.

“One of the things that’s the biggest challenge in the market today is there’s a lot of pressure for law enforcement officers and a lot of communities are hiring,” Maloney said. “So being able to have a facility that can attract people to it is something that’s extremely important because you’re competing against every other town in the general area for the same very, very limited talent pool.”

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