New public safety building design process gets green light

Conceptual drawing of the new facility
Conceptual drawing of the new facility

AUBURN, Ala.- The design process of the new public safety complex in Auburn is officially underway after Auburn City Council approved a contract with CC Litchfield to do design work on the new complex. The architect is now able to move forward with what already has been started in terms of conceptual drawings.

The new complex will sit on the current spot of Fire Station 1 in Auburn, and will house Auburn Police, Fire, administration, city council and municipal court.

The city said the design process on the facility is slated to take eight to nine months, and construction, which is slated for sometime in the summer of 2017, is expected to take 18 months.

Conceptual drawing of the new facility
Conceptual drawing of the new facility

Once the 70,000 plus square foot building is complete, police will move into the facility and the current facility that holds municipal court and council chambers will be torn down and turned into parking.

The city said those in the current building have outgrown the facility, and this new building will meet the needs of the city for years to come, adding that it will allow for growth and expansion for years to come.

“The potential to have this for future employees that will be able to operate out of this building,” Public Safety Director Bill James said. “They’re going to come having recruiting of police and fire and any employee that works in judicial or public safety I think will be excited to be able to come to this type of work environment.”

James added that the reason the process has taken so long is, they started out doing a remodel of the administration building and police building and determined that was not going to meet the need for the next 20, 30, 40 years. It eventually transformed into the idea of having the proposed building to house all units and have space for years down the road.

Also at city council on Tuesday, the public safety contract between the city and Auburn University was amended. This contract lasts from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2021. In 2004, the city’s police force and university police force merged together. Since then, the contract between the two is routinely amended as the services to the university and the needs of the university evolve. Part of this contract will add 15 police personnel to campus within the next 18 months.

Earlier in the year, Auburn University decided to expand the public safety building on campus, and this contract ensures everything will be in place to have a precinct on campus.

City Manager Charlie Duggan said the added personnel on campus is not a response to the campus being unsafe, but rather a proactive measure to ensure safety.

“We will take up a large portion of that building,” City Manager Duggan said. “The emergency management and response are also in that building, and we’re going to be working very closely with them. We think that this is a big benefit to the university. We think the campus is safe right now. We want to make sure that it continues to be safe in the future.”

Auburn University added:

“Auburn has an ongoing commitment to provide for the overall security of the campus community. For example, in recent years, the university has installed more than 1,000 security cameras. We continue to offer multiple safety education classes, such as rape aggression defense, active shooter and personal safety. We have increased the night time hours for the on campus student transportation system, augmented regular police patrols and increased building safety with security officers in parking lots and residence hall areas. “As part of our overall campus safety efforts, earlier this year the administration recommended and the Board of Trustees authorized expansion of the existing public safety building. The larger facility will consolidate and centralize operations. The larger facility will also provide additional space for a city police precinct on campus.”

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