Background on Arlington Heights Police Station Project
For several years the Village has planned to address the needs of the 38,000-square-foot Police Station that was opened in 1979. Because the facility has become too small, has deteriorating infrastructure and lack of functionality, it no longer adequately serves the needs of a modern law enforcement agency. If the Village Board contracts with an architectural firm, the firm would first re-validate the space needs and deficiencies outlined in a 2010 Space Needs Study, and would also develop a concept plan of how a new station could “best fit” within the existing municipal campus.
Various space-needs studies have been conducted on the Police Station. Results of the latest study done in 2010 shows that the building needs significant mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) repairs and replacement, just to maintain it as a serviceable building for the operational needs of a 24/7, 365 days a year Department.
The current 2014-2015 Fiscal Year budget includes $750,000 for architectural costs related to the planning and designing of a Police Station. FGM Architects has been hired for an amount not to exceed $70,355 for the purpose of preparing a Police Station Feasibility Study. FGM's first step is to re-validate space needs and deficiencies of the Police Station that were revealed in a 2010 study that was completed. Following that process, FGM will then develop several concepts of how a Police Station could "best fit" on the municipal campus, using the existing Police Station space, existing property on the municipal campus, including Village Hall.
The Village plans to efficiently manage the Village's resources and costs pertaining to a Police Station, get the best project for the least amount of expense, and to look for cost containment opportunities. Hiring a firm to determine whether a new station could be built using the current site is the first step in developing a new Police Station. The cost of constructing a Police Station cannot be accurately determined until the Village learns whether the facility can remain on the municipal campus, what the design of the facility includes and what the construction and financial markets dictate at the time of construction. One assignment for the architectural firm is to develop preliminary cost estimates for several Police Station concepts if it is feasible to build the station on the municipal campus. It’s expected that design and construction of a Police Station will be a several-year project.
The recommendation of the 2010 study was that a new 75,000-square-foot facility be built, which is comparable to other area Police facilities that recently have been constructed. For the past few years, a decision on how to approach the deteriorating Police facility has been postponed, first pending the outcome of the Police facility Needs Assessment Study, and then due to the recent recession.
By holding off on a decision to move forward on a new Police Station, the Village is now in a stronger position to finance most, if not all, of the costs of a new Police Station within the existing debt service level. The Village’s debt is expected to decrease in a few years due to the expiration of some bond issues, which means that a new Police Station could be financed through bonds with minimal impact on the Village’s property tax level.
Just last summer the Village Board approved the refinancing of bonds that were used to pay for the public works facility, fire station and Village Hall - saving almost half a million dollars over the remaining seven-year life of the bonds. The savings from refinancing the bonds comes from a much lower 1.46 percent interest rate that was awarded given the high bond rating of the Village.
In addition to the financial stability built by refinancing existing bonds, the Village Board also decided last year to not spend $8.78 million that was needed just to maintain the existing station over the next several years.
Instead of investing several million dollars into a facility that is outdated, deteriorating and inadequate, the Village plans to manage its existing resources and utilize an opportunity of a more stable economy and a healthy reduction in its debt service to conduct a conceptual review and feasibility study to begin to move forward with redevelopment of a new Police Station.
Why the Village is looking at developing a new Police Station is evident in the shortcomings outlined in the 2010 Space Needs Assessment. Due to the facility’s 24/7 and 365 days a year operation, the facility’s ”real age” is 108 years.
Some of the shortcomings of the Police Station listed in the 2010 Study
- Safety of officers and residents is a concern with the layout of the current station
- Significant lack of space for a Police Department of this size
- Holding cells do not meet current Illinois Dept. of Corrections standards
- Renovation costs to correct deficiencies is significant
- Roof and windows are beyond their useful life
- Facility is not handicap accessible
- Facility is not compliant with current codes
- Private areas are not secured from public areas
- HVAC system and controls are beyond their useful life
- Sally Port (controlled entryway into Police Station for prisoners) safety is not adequate
- Locker room space is inadequate for current equipment needs
- Security and surveillance are deficient
How Village Would Finance a Police Station:
More about FGM, the architectural firm:
- In previous budget discussions, the Village Board agreed to not spend an estimated $8.8 million needed to merely maintain the current Police facility for the next several years.
- That decision by the Board put the Village in a better position to fund most, if not all, of the costs of a new station within the existing debt service level.
- The Village’s debt is expected to decrease in a few years due to the expiration of some bond issues, which means that a new Police station could be financed through bonds with minimal impact on the Village’s property tax level.
The Planning Process for the Police Station Project:
- 20+ years serving Police Departments
- Designed over $185 million dollars in Police Station Projects in the past decade
- Designed over 840,000 square feet in Police Station Projects
- Handled over 100 Police Station Projects, including seven conversion projects
- Oversaw dozens of Police Station Remodeling Projects
- Have over 50 Police Department clients