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SEDCO approves land sale for $14M police station

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
An artist rendering shows early concept art for the new Sherman Police Station. The SEDCO board agreed Tuesday to sell the city 10 acres of land along Northgate Drive for the $14 million project.

Visions of a new modernized Sherman Police Department headquarters came one step closer to materializing Tuesday.

The Sherman Economic Corp. Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday to sell 10 acres out of Progress Park 1 to the city nearly $697,000 for the development of the new police station.

“This is SEDCO’s approval to sell the tract to sell to us. Monday night will be the city council’s side to sell the tract to us,” City Manager Robby. “On Monday’s agenda, ... will be the council’s action in directing the city’s response.”

The proposed location would be at the intersection of Northgate Drive and the new North Travis Street, across from the new Sherman Fire-Rescue Station 4.

The push to build a new police station has gained traction in recent years following growth within the city. As the city has grown to the west, as have its needs for police resources and a relocation of the department’s hub.

“If you look at the current facility, it has lasted us 60 years — the one we are in right now,” Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said in July. “So, all sorts of variables, growth rate and others, but we anticipate that we could be in this new building for decades.”

During early discussions, city officials considered renovating the existing police station to meet the department’s needs, but officials said this would not be a permanent solution and a more permanent fix would be needed in the future.

Hefton said the proposed location meets the city’s needs as it is located along the FM 1417 growth corridor and has easy access to both FM 1417 and U.S. Highway 75.

“It is very central to the growth that is happening in our community,” Hefton said. “It also needs to be close to major thoroughfares and it is close to both FM 1417 and U.S. 75., and Travis which is a new east-west corridor.”

If the council approves the purchase next week, Hefton said the city will be ready to pursue the next steps needing in the planning stage of the project and preparing for when the city is ready to move forward with construction.

With the site finalized the city would be able to hire a firm to complete the design and architectural plans for the project and a construction manager can be brought on board.

Hefton said he hopes to have a contract in place for construction manager services some time in November. From there, the city can get a more firm estimate on the project, which could range from about $12 million to $15 million.

“These steps are really the first steps that we will be taking in fiscal year 2020-2021,” Hefton said.

The outcome of this project is important to the city as it could serve as the first domino to fall in a series of related projects.

Once the department is relocated to its new headquarters, the city will need to determine the new use for the existing station. Early talks leaned toward it being used for some form of city offices.

One of the proposed uses would be as a new home for Sherman Fire-Rescue administration, which currently offices out of fire station 1.

By moving admin elsewhere, the department could return station 1 into a convention station. Alternatively, the department could combine it with another station in a new location to meet the city’s modern needs.

“There are still a lot of decisions that need to be made from the staff and council’s standpoint,” Hefton said. “So the work that will be done will be combined with past efforts to determine what the future use of that building will be.”

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.