Monday, July 22, 2013

Update on Police Headquarters at 1915 Olive

By now everyone has heard me talk about the goal of improving communication, both inside and outside the Department. Communication is one of my highest priorities because I believe that the citizens of this community have the right to know my vision for this Department.

Many of you have asked me about the future move to the new Police Headquarters building, located at 1915 Olive. When will the actual process of moving begin?  When will it be complete?  What will it cost?  How will it be managed? How will the change impact police services?  And so on.

The move to 1915 Olive is one of the most massive logistical undertakings in the long history of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Anyone who has ever moved a family of two or more people can easily imagine the challenges involved in moving a family of 1,900.  Complications are simply inevitable.

Those complications are also manageable, especially if we think and talk about them in advance.  With that in mind, let me take a few moments to share with the community what we know and what we foresee in this process.

On July 1, we received a "Notice to Proceed" and the construction contracts were issued.  This moved us past a very important milestone.  Many steps have been on hold pending this development and now the practical work can begin in earnest.

At present, we are projecting a construction completion date of April 10, 2014. Just imagine the complexity involved in outfitting a large modern office building with work-space for close to 1,000 people, over 146,000 square feet, with highly unique security and technology needs.  This will not be easy.

It will also not be free.  Cost projections from this point forward, as set forth in the contracts, are $6,558,500.  To any of us thinking about it in personal terms, that is a very intimidating number.  But the cost of the move must be compared to the value added and to the cost of the alternatives.  By that measure, we are looking at a significant bargain.  If we had to carry the full cost of constructing a new building of similar size and type, we would be facing a very large sum of money and an amount we might not be able to afford. Most importantly, the costs which confront us in this process are, and always have been, lower than the costs required to maintain the decaying structure at 1200 Clark. Funding for this project has come from the St. Louis Police Foundation, the Asset Forfeiture Account and Municipal Bonds, keeping General Fund monies for operating expenses of the Police Department. For us, the move to a new headquarters has never been a nice-to-have, it's always been a need-to-have.

I believe the new features at 1915 Olive will ultimately help the department to change the culture of the agency itself. The move will not only mark a milestone in the history of the department and the City of St. Louis, it will better assist us to continue to provide excellent police services to protect and serve our communities.

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