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Sherman chooses firm for PD design work

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A banner marks the future location of the Sherman Police Department. The Sherman City Council approved an agreement with Hidell and Associates for design work that will help prepare the project for construction in the future.

Development of the future home of the Sherman Police Department took a step forward Monday as city leaders formalized a design agreement for the project.

The city council agreed to enter in to a $934,000 agreement with Hidell and Associates Architects for work on the new $14 million Sherman Police Department headquarters.

The agreement will prepare the project for when city officials decide to move forward with construction of the new facility, which would be built along the FM 1417 corridor on Northgate Drive.  

"This agreement is essentially to secure two phases of the contract so that we can get the design complete to where it is a shovel-ready project that we can bring back to you for the last phase," Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said

Flores, along with other city officials, described the agreement as one of the key steps needed to finalize both a price for the project and prepare it for the construction phase. The city will be able to use the completed designs to put the project out for bid for a construction manager, who will finalize the cost of the final phase.

Flores said the city staff elected to go with Hidell for design work in part due to the firm's involvement with other municipal projects, including work on the Sherman Public Library.

"We are going to want it to be as cohesive of a design that is going to work with other municipal facilities have have been designed and will be in the future," said Aaron Babcock, representing Hidell Associates.

City Manager Robby Hefton said that Babcock in his previous work with the city was able to find a proper balance between amenities and frugality in what he described as "the right amount of nice." He said that these sensibilities are being used in the design of the new police station.

 "We want a product that is a balance between the use of taxpayer funds and functionality and all that," he said.

The Sherman City Council approved an agreement with Hidell and Associates Architects for design work on the proposed  Sherman Police headquarters project.

The recent push to build a new police headquarters comes amid recent growth within the city, which is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. With this growth comes increasing demand on the police department.

"We don't have the space to adequately hold our patrols," Flores said. "In that, we can still function because we are not always in the office at the same time, but the need is there."

Last year, the city council discussed options to address the department's facilities need before pursuing the construction of a new headquarters.

The current police station houses about 14,000 square-feet of space. Once completed, the new station would nearly double with with between 27,000 and 30,000 square feet of space. With that space, Flores said the department could house about 150 employees, creating space for both civilian operators and officers.

With regard to the current station, Flores said current plans call for the city to use the building for city offices. The space would likely be used for department and officials that are not outward facing and do not have significant public contact.

"We understand that it is just not public friendly from an entrance, exit parking situation," Flores said, describing the current facility.

During Monday's meeting, Council member Shawn Teamann asked if it was possible to conduct a request for qualifications for the design work, noting the cost. While not discounting the skill of the consultants, he said he felt it was appropriate to seek a second perspective.

Hefton noted that it is against state law to acquire professional services based on bidding rather than qualifications.

With a design firm chosen, Flores said he hopes to have something to present to the council by spring 2021.