The construction of a new $12.11 million, 24,000 square-foot police station could create more than 100 municipal positions, including 59 new officers, Sherman city officials said last week. This comes as the city is weighing its options on how to best address a need for space in the existing police station.
City leaders are considering if the city should invest in building the new station or simply renovating the existing station — an option that has a limited lifespan, officials said at the annual budget meeting.
“That option A is not a 20-year plan,” City Manager Robby Hefton said. “It is a five- to ten-year plan, and maybe that is all you want to bit off now, but know that is not preparing us for 20 years down the road.”
City officials previously discussed options to meet the needs of the police department in late May.
The first option would see a $4.63 million renovation of the existing station to encase it’s current covered entrance into functional space. This option would increase the space within the department by about 3,000 square feet, but would further limit the sites parking.
The second option would see the city construct a new police station somewhere on the city’s west side. Officials did not say where the nearly 5.4-acre site would be located, but hinted that it could be situated near FM 1417 due to the recent growth along the corridor.
The new location would feature nearly 24,400 feet of space and have room to support 128 sworn officers, compared to the nearly 70 officers the city currently employs. The site would also feature room for growth as the city’s needs expand over time. By comparison, city officials said the renovation project would only support about 25 new officers, with most falling into the patrol division.
“A new police HQ nearly doubles — not quite but nearly doubles — the capacity of where we are today,” Hefton said. “If we don’t do that and only do option A and renovate on site, the increase isn’t nearly 60; it is 20-something.”
City officials said the new station would come with the added benefit of freeing up space at the existing station allowing the building to be used as a sub station for the department while creating office space for other departments, including information technology, parking enforcement and environmental control.
Communications, including emergency dispatch, would remain at the existing station even if a new headquarters is created, Police Chief Zachary Flores said. The new station would allow for communications to expand beyond what would be allowed simply through renovation.
The biggest shift will likely be seen in the Sherman Fire-Rescue, who will be able to transition administrative staff from the central fire station to the new office space. This, in turn, would free up space at the fire station and allow it to increase the number of fire fighters stationed at the building from between four to five to about 10. The renovation of the fire station is estimated to come with a cost of just under $1 million.
“The current PD facility is useful in the future for other things, and we have not come to you with the recommendation to demolish the facility,” Hefton said. “We believe it has value now and today. We are just trying to get our arms around how quickly we move in a direction to serve the needs of the police department.”
Which option do you think would better serve the police department? Let local government reporter Michael Hutchins know at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.