Lenexa city leaders get first look at options to build new public safety building

Leah Wankum - September 4, 2019 9:30 am
Lenexa city leaders got a first look Tuesday night at options for the city’s public safety building.

Lenexa city leaders got a first look last night at options for the future of the city’s public safety building. Those options include completely rebuilding the police station and municipal court facilities on site, or relocating those services to a more centralized location west of I-435.

The city hired architects from PGAV and McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie Inc. to study the facilities housing the Lenexa Police Department and Municipal Court, both located on the same site next to old city hall on West 87th Street Parkway.

One primary result of the study so far: The public safety building’s square footage of 89,851 square feet would need to expand to about 138,031 by 2042 to accommodate the growing needs of the city. Additionally, parking would need to increase from 312 to 391 spaces.

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City leaders and staff are hoping to find ways to optimize the public safety facilities, create more sustainable design as well as efficient building adjacencies and operational flow, and plan for the future growth of the city.

After nearly three hours of touring the site and reviewing what the study has found so far, city leaders have directed staff and the hired architects to develop a more concrete scope and costs for two options.

Lenexa Police Chief Tom Hongslo said the police department is nearing capacity of operations.

The first option calls for completely demolishing and rebuilding the police station and municipal court facility on the existing site. The second option considers building both facilities anew on public property at the southwest corner of Prairie Street Parkway and Britton Street.

Constructing the project over multiple phases could cost anywhere $58 and 70 million, while constructing a new public safety building in one phase would cost anywhere between $54 and $65 million, according to initial cost estimates from the study.

The first option would move the facilities closer to West 87th Street Parkway to make room for secured parking for police officers in the back. If the city were to rebuild the public safety facilities on the existing site, the city may consider adding a small fire station as well. Rebuilding on the existing site requires phasing the project to continue operations.

Police Chief Tom Hongslo said relocating police headquarters to a more centralized location would have no impact on response times because of the highway system through the city. Shawnee, Overland Park and Leawood police stations have all relocated to more centralized sites within their respective jurisdictions.

Dean Roberts of MWL Architects said the city should consider the growth of the city and its police force when deciding next steps for the public safety building.

Police and city staff as well as hired architects for the study led a tour of the public safety building, including police department and municipal court facilities.

Hongslo and hired architects identified several needs for the public safety building, primarily for the police department. These include quick and easy access to police vehicles and more physical space as the police force grows with the needs of the city.

Hongslo noted that the police department has already outgrown the building. One of those challenges is adequate space for evidence storage, the detention area and locker space for officers.

Dean Roberts with MWL Architects said a new public safety building should accommodate officer training spaces, community gathering space and adequate and adjacent facilities for arrestees’ and officers’ safety. Other aspects to consider include data processing, evidence storage and communications for the dispatch center.

Lenexa city leaders took a tour of the public safety building yesterday before meeting to discuss options for the facilities.

A third option — to repair, maintain and repurpose the existing site — would leave no room for growth of operations but still cost about $10.6 million, according to the study.

Roberts said a new public safety building could take one to three years to design and build.

Construction costs for both options are similar for the existing site and new Prairie Star Parkway site, Robert said, adding that rebuilding on the existing site may cost 10% more than building at the new location due to phasing of project.

All of the councilmembers expressed hope that the plans could address the growing needs of the police department and increase the department’s ability to recruit good talent.

“We need to look at what does it look like, how do we serve the community for the next quarter century and what does that look like?” said Councilmember Andy Huckaba. “One way or another, it’s a lot of money. If we’re going to spend a lot of money, let’s make something for the future.”

Some councilmembers hinted their support for the second option, building on a new site.

The police station and former city hall were first built in 1980, and the municipal court was added in 1994. An addition to city hall was built in 1996. The site area covers about 10 acres.

City staff expect to bring more concrete details on scope and costs of the two options for the city council’s consideration by the end of the year.

City staff are also looking into options for what to do with the now vacant former city hall on the existing site.

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