Conceptual drawings show the potential design for a shared law enforcement facility in west Steamboat Springs next to the Routt County Jail.

Conceptual drawings show the potential design for a shared law enforcement facility in west Steamboat Springs next to the Routt County Jail. |

City, county unveil latest plans for shared law enforcement facility in west Steamboat Springs

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— A flurry of recent progress on the planning for a shared law enforcement facility in Steamboat Springs has one of the city’s elected officials saying "hot-diggity-dog!"

“I think this train just rang the whistle, because it’s ready to move out of the station,” Councilman Scott Ford said Thursday as he expressed his excitement about the new conceptual plans for the facility.

Ford noted how far the city — and now, the county — have come since 2013.

Back then, the city was pursuing a project on its own and hung up some balloons in Rita Valentine Park showing how tall a standalone police station would stand there.

Fast forward to today, and the city and county are looking at a timeline for the construction of a shared space on the west end of town they think will save taxpayer dollars and increase collaboration among local law enforcement.

New renderings of the facility released Thursday show for the first time what the 23,248-square-foot building to house both the city’s police force and the county sheriff’s office might look like.

Current cost estimates put the price tag of the shared facility and a remodel of existing space at the adjacent Routt County Sheriff’s Office at $16.7 million.

The estimated land costs associated with the new facility total an additional $951,870.

On Tuesday, the city and county's elected officials will decide whether to start planning for construction.

“I get more excited every step we take,” Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen said. “I get really excited about the collaboration we’re going to have with the sheriff’s office, and, in my opinion, I think we’re going to be able to offer better public safety products to our citizens.”

Under a proposed timeline, construction of the new facility would begin in May 2018.

The building would then be occupied by July 2019.

The current plan is to split the cost of certain portions of the project differently, based on the demand from the city’s police force and the sheriff’s office.

For example, it is proposed the city would pay for 60 percent of the new building itself, which is estimated to cost $13 million.

The county would cover the remaining 40 percent.

The county would cover the $735,236 cost of a new shell for a future communication center in the facility, and the city would pay for 90 percent of the estimated $1 million for a new garage.

Both the city and the county would also pay for the remodel of the existing sheriff’s office, because both law enforcement agencies plan to house their evidence storage and processing operations inside.

The new law enforcement facility is the first item on the agenda for a Tuesday joint meeting between the City Council and the Routt County commissioners.

View the plans here.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Comments

Eric Morris 2 weeks, 4 days ago

How unsafe are Steamboat and Routt? Don't people live there to get away from crime? Didn't the police department just get a big black eye? Did the new chief defend the act actions of former cops in deposition? How is that a change? Isn't CBI investigating the Sheriff's department and an investigator? Do people with little actual safety to provide and a record of being rough and retaliatory normally get rewarded with shiny new toys? What message does that send?

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Regardless of various issues within departments, the population of SB has grown significantly as have the calls to police and so the police department has grown in size. The current police station by numerous standards is too small for a police dept of this size or a community of this size. Nor is a new police station to meet current and future needs a reward to police officers.

This paper selects what calls to put in the police blotter and is aimed more for public entertainment than fairly representing police calls. For instance, paper doesn't cover attempted or completed suicides.

The current police department management pay much more attention to proper training and having officers professionally interact with the public. It isn't accurate to claim it is the same dept as under Joel Rae.

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Eric Morris 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Scott, wiki tells me it has only grown 2.9% in six years. Didn't they conduct a drug sweep at your daughter's school?

Will there be actual efficiencies (i.e. lower budget) with this new station? David Gibbs asked Kathi Meyer and did not get a warm-and-fuzzy response.

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Eric,

I was talking about difference in local population since police moved into current station. The police station is not being justified by growth of past 6 years because 6 years ago the police station was already stated as being too small.

It seems that the more important measurement of police dept size is number of calls and overtime. The argument that dept is understaffed seems debatable since it isn't obvious that dept should be able to handle peak tourism without any overtime or being able to grant vacations. Starting in a couple of weeks then overtime should go to zero and they can grant vacation requests for the next three months.

Kathi said that there would be some limited efficiencies such as having a shared evidence room. She also said there should be better coordination due to both dept's management being in close proximity, but didn't claim that would allow for cost savings.

The school drug sweep was a stupid stunt apparently to remind students to listen to older students saying to keep your vape pens in your backpack. It is not connected to whether they need a new police station.

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Martha D Young 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Could those buildings be any uglier?

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rhys jones 2 weeks, 3 days ago

No, but they represent the ultimate in governmental efficiency. Note, for instance, the flat roof -- especially effective, in heavy snow country...

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