The Sherman City Council is considering options on how best to meet the needs of the police department as the city continues to grow. Representatives with the Sherman Police Department presented options to the council Monday night, including the construction of a new facility and the renovation of the existing police station.
“Ultimately, we’ve taken a look at four different options and what we are here to show you tonight are what we have been able to narrow down as the two most viable options,” Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said.
Flores said the idea of expanding the police department’s facilities has been kicked around for two years and has been extensively discussed at the council’s annual budget retreat. Monday’s discussions come ahead of this year’s retreat where the topic is expected to be a returning point of discussion.
Flores said Sherman needs to address the crowding of the current building now as the city continues to grow. Currently, the existing facility offers room for about 75 officers, but proposed reconfiguration could increase this to 90 to nearly 130 officers.
The first proposal would see the renovation and expansion of the existing facility along with exterior renovations to the station’s facade. Additional space would come from the enclosure of the existing covered driveway entrance and a rerouting of the main building entryway, among other changes.
For this option, Flores estimated the city would need to invest nearly $4.63 million.
The second option calls for the construction of a new police station and the renovation of the existing facility to serve as a civilian municipal services office. This would allow fire administration, training and investigations to move into the existing building along with information technology, parking enforcement and other departments.
As the renovations would not carry the same requirements as a police station, Flores said the renovation for the second option would only cost about $2.74 million, by comparison.
The shift of fire personnel from the central fire station would allow it to return to its original purpose as a traditional station and less of an administration facility, Flores said. This would allow the building to be renovated to fit 10 firefighters and generate a centralized day room and other amenities that were lost when it was used for administration.
“We have a classroom, but it barely holds the shift personnel,” Sherman Fire-Rescue Chief Danny Jones said.
Jones said the renovation project would allow the department additional capacity at the station and could delay the city’s need to construct a new station in the near future.
“If that can buy us more time, then that is an option to pursue,” council member Willie Steele said.
Flores estimated that the renovation of the fire station would cost just under $1 million, with construction alone estimated at $769,250.
The largest portion of the project would involve the construction of a new 24,000 square foot police station to house the majority of the department’s services. Proposed plans for the new facility called for 3,000 square feet of impound garage, 124 secured parking spaces and 50 public parking spaces, along with room to grow the facility over time. Flores described the project as a 10- to 15-year plan for the city before it would need to look at expanding the property.
City officials declined to say where the new facility would be built, but Flores hinted that it would need to be centralized and that location has shifted over the years. With growth moving west, Flores said it likely would be located somewhere along FM 1417.
The new facility would cost nearly $12.10 million to construct, with a total project cost of nearly $16 million for the second option.
Monday’s agenda also included improvements to the department’s existing shooting and training facility, located outdoors in the county. Council member Sandra Melton asked if the two could be combined in the same facility for efficiency.
Flores said if the range was moved inside the city, it would be required to be indoors and would significantly increase the scope and cost of the project.
“We don’t want to get into a situation where the scope of the project is cost prohibitive,” Aaron Babcock, representing Hidell and Associates Architects Inc., said.
City Manager Robby Hefton noted that the project could have some funding options with it, noting that there are cost-sharing possibilities without going into detail. The council is expected to discuss the proposed improvements this summer when it begins work on next year’s budget.