Sherman is exploring options for a brand-new building for the police department’s headquarters.
Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores and Aaron Babcock of Hidell and Associates Architects Inc. presented the Sherman City Council with a trio of options for the future of the department’s main office. The first was the $4,144,814 comprehensive remodel that was discussed during the budget workshop earlier this year, while the other two consisted of a smaller scale remodel to the current building at 317 South Travis St. and the construction of a new headquarters on 5.4 acres of land at another location in the city.
“The option A is probably more of a 5- to 10-year look at things,” City Manager Robby Hefton said of the remodel that was previously discussed. “That would get us to 55,000-60,000 population. We’re at low- to mid-40,000s right now, so how fast are we going to grow? What we believe is at the rate we’re growing, it (the remodel) is not a 20-year solution for sure. Not even likely a 15-year (solution), so it’s more short- to intermediate-term.”
The council didn’t make a decision on which path the city will follow, though Hefton said city staff would probably bring the matter back early next year to get direction from the council.
Hefton explained the two new options presented would serve a projected population of 75,000-80,000. The second option presented to the council would move everything except for the police department’s communications to a new headquarters at the new location, while the third option would leave communications, property and evidence, as well as records at the current SPD building.
The total for the renovations and new construction would range from $12,677,860 to $13,498,405 depending on the options chosen by city leaders.
“Really, the struggle we’ve had with this particular project is how far out in the future do you want to look and plan and build?” Hefton said. “If we’re OK with a shorter time horizon, not knowing how quickly we’re going to grow, then option A would be what you want to do. Option B and C are longer-term horizon and the picture gets a little worse because these are today’s dollars. That $12 million cost is going to be something way different when we decide to build.”
Hefton said the current fiscal year budget has $4.1 million included for the previously planned remodel, which will be put on hold once the top floor is completed, but if the council ultimately decides to approve a new headquarters, more bonds would need to be issued to pay for it.
“The thing that is challenging to us right now is these projects are happening so quickly, with different developments, we can’t even tell today what’s going to be needed six months from now,” Hefton said. “That’s why I wanted to wait to give a little bit of clarity because we’ve got some high-profile very large developments that are going to be coming to P&Z (Planning & Zoning) soon, so I wanted to have a more full picture of those sorts of things.”
During the budget workshop in June, Babcock said the current facility is not operating as efficiently as it could be. Babcock explained the priorities for the remodel would be increasing security, making the department more efficient and then improving its image.
“The evidence is stored in multiple locations, which really complicates the handling of the evidence and the processing of the evidence,” Babcock said of improving efficiency within the department. “(In) any reconfiguration plan, we would want to put that into a centralized location.”