Highland News Leader

Highland seeks bids on public safety building, construction will take a year and a half

Highland’s plans to combine the city’s public safety buildings into one complex went out for bid this week.

The project, which will house Highland’s police, emergency medical services and fire department in one building off Troxler Avenue, is estimated at roughly $7 million, which will be funded through a half-cent sales tax in one of the city’s business districts.

Motions to seek bids for general construction, electric, plumbing and mechanical elements of the new building were approved by the city council Tuesday, Feb. 19, with little discussion.

The project stems from the city’s comprehensive plan, which was developed in 2016. At the time, Highland’s city council listed improving facilities for the city’s public safety departments as its No. 1 priority.

Currently, each of the public safety departments are working in outdated buildings that were built more than 40 years ago. Both the fire department and police station require ongoing maintenance due to the age of the buildings.

The buildings also do not comply with American with Disabilities Act standards, living quarters and amenities are inadequate at the fire station and do not accommodate both men and woman.

Space also has been issue, as well as structural issues like leaking roofs, collapsing retainer walls, crumbling driveways, rotting woodwork, steep staircase and foundational issues.

The project also includes renovations to Fire Station No. 1, located at 1115 Broadway, where the city’s EMS team is currently headquartered.

Concept art and schematics for the 31,000-square-foot building were released late last year. At that time, Police Chief Chris Conrad presented several changes Loyett Architects had made to get the project within the budget.

highland public safety
Concept art for Highland’s $7 million public safety building that gives the city police department, firefighters and EMS an updated base of operations. Provided

The total size of the building was reduced by roughly 12,000 square feet. Design changes also were made to lessen the cost of construction, while adding a basement and a multi-purpose and training room

Conrad said with the current design the building should have a 30- to 40-year lifespan, based on past growth trends, and will allow both the departments to roughly double in size. He added that free space that is being used for storage could be adjusted to make room for any additional growth.

City Manager Mark Latham said the construction would most likely take a year and a half, stretching through next winter.

Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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