New police building to start construction

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Emergency Dispatcher Stock
An expanded dispatch and emergency call center will be one facet of the city's new 25,000-square-foot police station slated to begin construction in late January or early February. The project will cost more than $25 million. [File photo]

Maricopa is close to beginning construction on a new police administration and emergency communication center which will rise directly across from the Pinal County Complex that opened last year at Garvey and Wilson avenues. According to City Manager Rick Horst, construction on the $25.4 million project will begin in late January or early February.

The new facility will cover about 25,000 square feet on a single floor. Horst said the original concept was for a two-story facility, but the single floor design ended up being more cost effective and having all staff working on the same floor will allow for better communication and greater work efficiencies.

The building will house the police department, a jail area with four holding cells, administration and dispatch services. There also is room to bring in dispatch and emergency/911 services for other cities into the fold as a way for neighboring cities in Pinal County to manage costs and Maricopa to generate additional revenue. The building has space for 20 dispatch consoles.

One element that had been discussed but did not make it into the final plans was a shooting range. But the idea is not dead, according to Horst.

“There is space to build one in the future and we are exploring public-private partnerships so this could be a resource for the whole community,” he said. “Not completing the shooting range during initial construction was the only item held back.”

Design plans for the building are currently about 60% complete. Construction should take about 18 months, and barring delays the facility should in the summer of 2023.

Horst said this should be the last police facility the city builds for quite a while.

“Both the Police Department and Emergency Communications Center are expected to accommodate for the growth of the city for the next 20-25 years,” he said. “The building is being built with to accommodate for future expansions as well.”

He added that in addition to meeting the needs of the city for the foreseeable future, the project is being done in a fiscally responsible way.

“No debt was incurred, and taxes were not increased for this project,” Horst said. “The goal is to pay for decades of use, so we pay for the facility in today’s dollars, not tomorrow’s.”

Several potential uses have been proposed for the current police facility once the new one opens. One of the most frequently mentioned is a city art center including galleries, dance studios, painting and sculpture areas, classrooms and maker spaces.