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Sherman PD design comes to fruition

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Current designs show the proposed layout of the new Sherman Police Department.

Sherman's vision for a new police station and headquarters is starting to take shape. Representatives with the department and Hidell and Associates recently presented updated plans to the City Council for the proposed $15 million police department.

Currently, officials expect the project to take about 15 months to build. If the project moves forward on schedule later this year, officials expect the building to be in operation some time in early 2023.

These are plans are designed to show the interior layout of the city facility, to be located near West Travis and Northgate Drive, which will replace the current station in downtown Sherman.

"The presentation I have today is really to give you an update on where we are at," said Aaron Babcock representing Hidell and Associates. "We've done several things since I was last in front of you."

"What we are really doing is starting the conversation today to make sure that when we come back and present concepts to you from an architectural perspective, we are on the right track," Babcock continued.

As a part of the planning process, officials visited other departments across the state to see what design elements have worked for similar departments. Among the sites visited was the College Station Police Department, which proved to be influential in Sherman's proposed designs.

Early concept plans show the proposed layout of the new Sherman Police Station

One of the aspects that Sherman took from College Station is how it utilizes an annex building for space needs beyond its traditional use.

Many departments use annex buildings primarily for vehicle processing and storage. However, College station as moved many departments that do not need to be in the main building into this secondary structure.

"We tried to take the philosophy of what has to be in the main building, which costs more per square foot," Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said. "If it doesn't have to be there, can we put it in an annex at reduced cost."

The annex building  is expected to cost less per square-foot than the main building. The city could see cost savings that allow it to build a larger facility to making use of the annex concept, Flores said.

Currently, the department is looking to house special investigations, a SWAT ready room, training space and other vehicle and equipment-related operations into the annex.

By doing this, the department hopes to create about 34,000 square-feet of space in the new facility. This is an improvement over the 24,000 that was initially proposed. city officials said.

Flores said the annex upgrade had several other benefits outside of additional space. Some departments, including special investigations, are better suited outside the main building. This would allow these officers a space to work while keeping their cover as narcotics investigators.

"They typically are not seen by the public and having those relationships with the public and the people they with interact with are not the type of people you want to be leading through the main hallways or be walking through the main entry when you are there with your children," Flores said.

The space would also create a cover area for officers and support crews to maintain, outfit and upgrade police vehicles in a protected area.

"Currently, IT is really working out in a car when they are trying to fix something or outfit it with equipment,"

Flores said. Flores added that the department is expected to have additional housing needs for specialized vehicles in the near future. The department is currently looking to purchase an armor vehicle, along with a command vehicle, some time in the near future.

Babcock said the use of the annex also helps to "future proof" the building by ensuring it not only meets the city's needs now but also in a future of expected growth. To meet this end, Babcock said the facility will be designed to where three specific areas can be expanded as need demands. These areas include patrol, criminal investigations along with the locker room.

An artist rendering shows early designs for the proposed Sherman Police Station. However, officials said this month that the design will likely match other city facilities in the area, including Sherman Fire Station 4.

Regarding the architecture, Babcock said designers are still working to formalize what the exterior of the building will look like. This will likely serve as a template for what future city building look like. As an example, Babcock said he would like to include rough stone similar to that used in the nearby Sherman Fire Station 4.

"We want to walk away from this knowing Sherman has a building they can be proud of for 50 years, 100 years — It is going to be around forever."