Highland News Leader

Highland City Council votes to purchase land from hospital that should move public safety building project forward

Highland News Leader

The Highland News Leader serves readers in Highland.
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The Highland News Leader serves readers in Highland.

Highland has purchased land from St. Joseph’s Hospital that should permit the new public safety building project to move forward.

The Highland City Council voted May 6 to approve purchasing a small strip of land from the hospital that will be adjacent to the existing public safety building. The money had been purchased some time ago by the hospital for greenspace, but had not been used.

Highland Police Chief Christopher Conrad said the purchase of the property would allow them to shift the building a few feet to the north, which will improve drainage on and around the property.

The $7 million project will consolidate Highland’s police, paramedic and fire services in one building off Troxler Avenue designed by Loyett Architects. The project also includes renovations to the existing fire station on Broadway. Conrad said that station will continue to be the primary fire station for Highland’s fire services, which serves six different fire protection districts for fire and emergency medical services.

Conrad said the consolidation of departments in one building will be more expedient and less expensive in the future. The existing buildings are 40 years old and do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and do not accommodate the department’s growing needs.

When they need to conduct training sessions, Conrad said, they often must borrow space from the school district.

“We have pretty much expanded into every available space,” Conrad said.

The new building is expected to last for 30 to 40 more years, and will be funded with a new half-cent sales tax in one of the city’s business districts

Conrad said this was the last official step in moving the project forward, and construction should begin soon.

“We’re hoping to be done within two years,” he said.

Other council news

In other news, the city council seated two new councilmen after the spring election unseated two long-serving incumbents. John Hipskind and Sarah Sloan were sworn in May 6 as the newest city councilmen for Highland, and Michaelis presented outgoing council members Neil Nicolaides and Aaron Schwarz with plaques honoring them for eight and 10 years’ service, respectively.

Hipskind is an attorney with Hipskind and McAnich LLC, and Sloan is a prominent member of the Highland Jaycees and Rotary.