Nearly two decades in the making, the new police station for the San Gabriel Police Department is poised to begin construction in late 2017. The new building will replace the current police facility, which was originally built in 1962.
“We’re currently in a building that was built in the 1960s,” said Eugene Harris, Police Chief. “We need a new facility that can accommodate the growth that our department has experienced.” Originally designed as a bomb shelter, the police department currently occupies a stout one-story building with underground passageways leading to an underground floor. Dated in appearance and described as “dilapidated” on the city’s website, the 11,800 square foot building resembles more a bunker than a modern day police facility. “The building does not flow with the community engagement-type mentality that we – as a police department – want to convey,” said Harris.
To replace the department’s aging structure, the city employed the architectural firm WMM Associates to design a new $26.5 million dollar facility to house police and staff. “It’s a two-story building with approximately 30,000 square feet of building space,” said Stephen Wiley, principal architect at WMM Associates. “The top floor will house room for administration and investigations, while the bottom floor will house patrol, a community room, a property area, Type I jail, and a dedicated firing range.”
To address the demands associated with the police department’s 24 hour schedule, the new structure will be built adjacent to the existing police headquarters in order to create minimal disruption to police services. “We will construct the new building within 12-15 feet next to the old building,” said Jeff Templeman, project manager of the new facility. “Once the new building is constructed, we’ll demolish the old facility and construct new landscaping and parking in its place.”
Once open, the new police headquarters will feature an expansive entrance with landscaping, trees and an outdoor parking area. “The idea is to address the street corner with a building that appears to be brought down in scale that can simultaneously step-up to be a city building,” Wiley said.
While the new facility is considerably larger than the old structure, the city sought to implement a neighborhood-friendly design rather than an all-imposing structure. “The new facility will be large, but we didn’t want the facility to seem large,” Wiley noted. “We want residents to feel comfortable as they approach the building.”
Police Chief Harris also noted that aesthetics were key in designing the new structure to fit the surrounding neighborhood. “In the same way the design of the new Public Works building has incorporated an enhanced, aesthetically operational feel, so too will the new Police facility bring beauty and functionality to the to our overall community engagement effort,” Harris said.
The city will submit a formal request for proposal soon, with construction expected to occur later this year. The new facility is expected to open in 2019.