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SRV6HighlandA new public safety building in Highland will house police, fire and EMS. The project could begin as early as Spring 2019 and will cost an estimated $7M.    In 2012, the city of Highland conducted a study regarding the need for a new public safety building. Initial drafts came up extremely over-budget and the project was tabled for years. Now, after passing a sales tax to fund the building and consulting with local firm Loyet Architects, the ball is once again rolling.
    Schematics and architectural renderings were presented at a recent city council meeting by Loyet representatives and Highland’s new Chief of Police Chris Conrad. According to Conrad, the new public safety headquarters will house Highland police, EMS and firefighters, which currently operate out of several different buildings. The approximately 30,000 square-foot construction, to be located on Troxler Avenue near the hospital, will cost an estimated $7 million. The project also includes updates to the fire department building at 1122 Broadway.
    “Our current facilities are aging,” said Conrad. “Neither of the buildings are ADA compliant. We need proper doorway widths, automated doors, public restrooms, public access to the basement. We don’t have an enclosed sally port, which is where you bring prisoners in … We have roof leaks, mold, all the stuff that comes with 35- to 40-year-old buildings.” 
    The new safety headquarters will house the Highland police department and the EMS administrative offices, as well as some full-time EMS workers and some fire department resources, although the Broadway fire station will continue to operate in order to maintain a presence in the south side of town.

    When the fire station was originally built in 1980, it was entirely volunteer run. Highland fire chief Brian Wilson said that the current sleeping area is makeshift, introduced when full-time employees created a need for one.
    The renovations planned for the fire station include removing the dangerously steep staircase leading up to the sleeping quarters and turning the second floor into a seldom-used storage area accessible only from the outside of the building. The sleeping quarters will be moved to the first floor in a space created by the expansion. 
    “I’m very pleased with the direction the city is taking this,” said Wilson. “Technology has changed which has changed the demand of space. It gives us a chance to catch up with technology in the space that was never allocated for what we have adapted into ... This is an opportunity that has never been here before.”
    Currently the Broadway station has five ports to house firetrucks and EMS vehicles. Renovations will convert one port into an office space with a clearly marked entrance. Wilson’s office, currently located in a separate building across the street, will be moved to the new headquarters.
    Matt Loyet, owner and operator of Loyet Architects, said he received the project in May after an interview process. Since then, his company has worked with the city to “streamline” the project, reducing the size, and cost, of the new building.
    “We had to combine all those separate uses (fire, EMS, police) into one building. It’s quite challenging in comparison to other buildings due to that alone,” Loyet said. “We used some combined and shared spaces to cut the square footage down. We reduced (the original plans) by over 12,000 square feet.”
    Loyet also touted a “cutting edge” technology system including a video system for both security and police surveillance purposes. Loyet said the team is planning to go out for bids in Spring of 2019 and the project could begin as early as then, with an estimated construction time of 12 to 18 months.
    Conrad said his team is excited to see their project come to fruition.
    “When we re-designed the building, we formed an employee committee so that when we did the floor plans we were constantly thinking about work flow and how we do business. By having (employees) involved, we’re going to put out a much better product that will serve the city well,” said Conrad. “I can’t stress enough the value of employee input in this process.”

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