Plans, variances OK'd for new $17.26M police headquarters

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
An artist rendering shows current plans for the new Sherman Police Station. The project reached a milestone this week when plans for it were approved by Sherman Planning and Zoning.

Development of the new $17.26 million Sherman Police headquarters passed one of its final hurdles before it can enter construction Tuesday night when plans and variances were approved by the Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission. 

Tuesday's approval clears the way for representatives for the project to finalize the remaining parts of the planning phase and develop a guaranteed cost for the project.

"If that price is agreeable with the City Council, we are looking to break ground in the very first part of November," Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said Tuesday.

Flores said current estimates put the total project costs at about $17.26 million. These latest estimates include the cost of outfitting and furnishing the building, along with other expenses outside of construction itself.

Under most recent estimates, the department plans to invest $1.41 million in these additional expenses. Furnishing the site is expected to cost about $696,000 while an additional $209,860 will be spent building a communications tower. Police Dispatch will also be getting five new dispatch consoles at a price of $494,569.

If the council approves the finalized price, Flores said crews expect to begin work in early November with an expected completion in early 2023. Flores does not expect much impact to police services during this time, and he will work to ensure a smooth transition once the building is complete.

During Tuesday's meeting, Architect Aaron Babcock, representing Hidell and Associates Architects, presented plans for the 34,000 square-foot building that will sit on 10 acres of land near the intersection of West Travis and Northgate Drive.

Talks about the new station started about two years ago as city officials debated renovating the current station to create additional usable space versus building a new station elsewhere in the city. Current plans call for the current station to be converted into additional city office space once the new station is built.

The new station will take the form of two buildings — a traditional police station and a smaller annex building at the rear. The annex will house some department vehicles, a gym, training facility and special operations team.

Representatives for the project have spent the past few months finalizing the details of the project while making changes to better fit the site, its use and be more financially and logistically efficient. One of the guiding trends in these decisions has been the fluctuating market for construction supplies and steel, Babcock said in June.

"The thing that is impacting this project in particular is steel, all the way to rebar in the foundation system, the cost of concrete, and steel itself," he said.

This has led architects to redesign some aspects of the building, including the foundation. The roof itself has been redesigned to eliminate the  need for some joists and rely more on beams. This change came as planners noticed a shortage and backlog of production of these materials.