Archive for Sunday, December 3, 2017

Police want to build new headquarters near west Lawrence Walmart; $17 million project also may use no-bid process

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.

December 3, 2017

Advertisement

City staff members want to build a new $17 million police headquarters facility near the Walmart store in west Lawrence.

At their meeting on Tuesday, city commissioners will decide whether to back that recommendation, or perhaps choose to locate the facility on property in eastern Lawrence near the Douglas County Jail.

The police department and City of Lawrence staff are recommending a site the city already owns, located at 5100 Overland Drive. That site, which is north of the Walmart near Sixth and Wakarusa, was picked over the other finalist site at VenturePark, an eastern Lawrence property closer to the Douglas County Jail. In total, staff members reviewed more than a dozen locations.

Police Captain Anthony Brixius said one of the advantages of the Overland Drive site is access to main thoroughfares. He said the VenturePark property, by comparison, lacks access to arterial roads, apart from 23rd Street, and the Overland Drive site has options going in multiple directions.

“You can quickly get onto Wakarusa (Drive), you can quickly get onto Sixth Street or Bob Billings (Parkway) or a number of the artery streets,” Brixius said. “You can also get onto K-10 or I-70, so even getting to North Lawrence in a busier time would be a little bit quicker if you were actually responding from the station.”

Brixius said being close to the jail may have some potential advantages, but that police officers don’t spend a great deal of time at the jail and that officers normally go from the jail back out to their patrols as opposed to the station.

The city’s 2018 budget raised the property tax rate by 1.25 mills to pay for phase one of the police headquarters. The tax increase will cost the owner of a $175,000 home an additional $25 annually in city property taxes. The multi-phase, multi-year plan will create a law enforcement campus that would allow city police to potentially co-locate with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to save costs.

Previous direction from the City Commission was for the city to review sites it already owned, and 17 such sites were reviewed before the city arrived at the two finalists. A memo to the City Commission also states that although the Overland Drive site is not centrally located, the Planning and Development Services Department believes the more immediate and future growth in the city will occur west of the site, so it would become more centralized as time goes on.

Because the headquarters will be built in phases with no definite timeline of when the next phase will occur, Brixius said it is also important that the headquarters be close to the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway.

“I think that this allows for a bridge for however long that time is where the department can still communicate effectively and are able to visit with one another quickly if need be,” Brixius said.

Another factor cited in the decision is that using the VenturePark site for the police headquarters would remove the possibility of industrial or economic development on that acreage, according to the memo.

As part of the City Commission’s meeting Tuesday, commissioners will decide whether to designate 16 acres of the 29-acre site at Overland Drive for the police headquarters. The commission will also vote on whether to allow the city to use alternate construction contractor selection methods that would not include a bidding process.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

Contractor selection methods

City commissioners will consider a new policy that would make it easier for big projects like a police headquarters to be built without going through the city's normal bidding process.

The city has historically used a Design-Bid-Build method for construction projects, in which the city first hires architects to come up with a design and then conducts a bidding process for the project. City staff is recommending that the city consider alternatives methods on future projects. Those include the Design-Build method, where a designer and contractor team are selected at the beginning of the process based on qualifications and a price set instead of opening the project for bids.

The staff recommendation states that such methods increase collaboration by involving the contractor early during the project design phase and can decrease costs and project timelines. The City Commission will vote on a new ordinance that would allow the governing body to authorize processes like Design-Build instead of the current Design-Bid-Build if it was “in the public interest.”

Tuesday's action, however, would not automatically exempt the police headquarters project from the normal bidding process. City commissioners at a later date would have to decide whether to use the traditional bid process or an alternative method.

Comments

Stacy Napier 1 week, 4 days ago

"Another factor cited in the decision is that using the VenturePark site for the police headquarters would remove the possibility of industrial or economic development on that acreage, according to the memo."

While that is true. You could equally say that using the 5100 Overland site removes that property from possibility of retail development which would bring in more sales tax to the city (if it sold it). And I am sure the 5100 Overland is valued at more that any property of Venture Park if the city was to sell it.

How close is it to the Freestate High?   Can you have guns that close to school?   Didn't we shut down a range at the community building because of that?

Curtis Martell 1 week, 3 days ago

Lets give the police cars so they can drive around town. That way they won't be just sitting around the office at 5100 Overland.

Bob Summers 1 week, 4 days ago

Brilliant.

Most of the crime, gun fights, and hand to hand combat is from Mass street to the East.

Put the police station in the west.

Ken Lassman 1 week, 4 days ago

Why do you constantly spout out your opinions as the truth? You clearly don't bother to check reality. Here's a map of 2017 crimes so far....

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 week, 3 days ago

He wants to think that "poor" people are criminals. He likes to put them down, if they don't fit into his narrow little mold.

Stacy Napier 1 week, 3 days ago

Ummm. That map seems pretty heavy along the Massachusetts street corridor until you are north of 6th and south of about 27th. Even then it looks like the dense area stops west of Iowa.

Ken Lassman 1 week, 3 days ago

You're hilarious, Bob! You said: "Most of the crime, gun fights, and hand to hand combat is from Mass street to the East." Now let's use the crime density filter at the same website to see if you're right:

Let's see: Downtown is clearly the location where most crime occurs--no big surprise there because of all of the bars.

Second most dense location for crimes in 2017 is along 23rd between Iowa and Louisiana, and in adjacent neighborhoods.

Third place seems to be a tie between areas adjacent to 6th street between downtown and Lawrence Avenue, and the area adjacent to Clinton Parkway between Kasold and Inverness. Once again, a student-rich area full of apartments.

It's only then that both East Lawrence and North Lawrence come into the picture in terms of crime density. A distant 5/6th place finish.

It would be interesting to have you do some Rorschach blot tests, Bob. I bet all you would see is congenital Liberals.

Bob Forer 1 week, 3 days ago

Ken. FTW!

Now that was the closest I have seen to a good old fashioned Kansas ass whupping in a very long time.

Jake Davis 1 week, 4 days ago

I am disappointed in the site selection but at the same time, the City was limited due to the taxpayers demanding a city owned site. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the property at 19th/Iowa St, next to the new fire station to have been considered. We have to trust in the City's decision, but I disagree with the rationale the new location has easy access. Since LPD's patrol officers conduct 90-95% of the criminal investigations, it is imperative the site is centrally located. If not, officers are back to spending 25-35 minutes navigating traffic just to get to a spot to interview someone.

Bob Summers 1 week, 3 days ago

Best place for the police depot is where it is at.

There is plenty of vacant land to the south of the current location.

Stacy Napier 1 week, 3 days ago

Where is that, South Park? You wan't them to build in the park?

Bob Summers 1 week, 3 days ago

It would be the least expensive way to go to take a sliver of fallow-ground and put it to work for the people.

There are lots of parking space wasted on gas guzzlers polluting the environment. Require ALL employees to ride the T to work. Create space for the building and save the planet in the process.

Do it for the hard working taxpayers paying for this desperately needed, according to government peeps, building.

Criminals are running pell mell in Larryville.

Build it nigh the park.

Paul Beyer 1 week, 3 days ago

Bob, not only do you not live in Lawrence, but you pay no taxes anywhere since you live off your spouse's earning. So what Lawrence does is not your concern.

Bob Summers 1 week, 3 days ago

Money is no object of the congenital Liberal when it is someone else's.

Build the depot where ever it costs the most to build.

The working stiff will pay for it.

David Holroyd 1 week, 3 days ago

15th and Kasold!! Build it there.

NO BID? Remember what happened with Rock Chalk park?

The commission will show their true faces and ineptness if they go along with the NO BID plan.

Previous commissions passed up on a good deal for a Senior Center when they failed to buy church property on Kasold with adjacent land. That's what you get with small town minds and no VISION....now especially led by a City Manager desperate for something to brag about in a rather dismal employment...future.

Tom Thomson 1 week, 3 days ago

The property at 15th/Kasold is owned by KU and they were unwilling to allow the city to build there. Very disappointing, considering a pretty good number of the contacts LPD has are with or related to the students.

Richard Heckler 1 week, 3 days ago

If a no bid is part of the deal the city should hire its' own construction crew. Keep an inspector on site. In fact why not keep a city construction crew on the payroll for all maintenance and such. Let's get smart.

Get it done right the first time for less and much less controversy.

Why put the taxpayers money at risk again?

When MIDCO moves out why not relocate part of the LPD to that location thus saving taxpayers some money..... maybe?

Jake Davis 1 week, 3 days ago

You obviously have not been following this topic....

Tom Thomson 1 week, 3 days ago

Does he ever? Richard, do some research on this topic and then come back to us.

Calvin Anders 1 week, 3 days ago

I really don't want to side with Bob Summers on an issue if I can avoid it. And I definitely don't want to dig up South Park, but there is an obvious point (supported by Ken's wonderful maps). Locating a single police station way out west pushes police away from the areas in our community that need the most police presence. It may not be East Lawrence specifically, but downtown and surrounding areas are higher crime areas and miles away from the new proposed site. I think it would make much better sense for Lawrence to buck the current fade in law enforcement to consolidate facilities and isolate officers from the community they serve. It would be much better to distribute the force into smaller offices located around the city. More foot patrols and cycles. More direct community contact. I'm not claiming this is a perfect solution, just a better one than moving the entire force miles to the west of were they are most needed.

Francis Hunt 1 week, 3 days ago

Do your homework Calvin, "...smaller offices located around the city" would be a much more expensive option.

Richard, FYI you can't build a critical service facility (hospital, fire station, police station, etc) in a flood plain. The Riverfront Plaza is in a floodplain.

Deborah Snyder 1 week, 3 days ago

Look, if LPD says it needs a location near its Kasold offices, and the city foresees a significant amount of growth towards Lecompton, then yes, I can dispiritedly accept their reasoning for choosing this city-owned site for a new hdqtrs. I do have questions about the high school, high traffic volumes, etc.

The article also points out that officers don't cycle back & forth between the jail, the courts and hdqtrs., so .. I would like to know how, or whether this plan coordinates with fire and medical services, & what, if any, effect this proposal has on Douglas County Sheriff's coordination, 911 coordination, etc.??

Also, doesn't the west side get more weather (wind, black ice, wind sheer, and possible power interruptions?

Jake Davis 1 week, 2 days ago

You are a little off...The LPD is located at 11th/Mass. and Bob Billings Pkwy near Wakarusa Drive, not Kasold Drive. Why wouldn't you want a police station near a high school? As far as traffic goes, other than patrol officers arriving and departing in their personal vehicles for work and officers leaving/returning before and after their shift, there would be minimal increase in traffic resulting from a police department. One would have very limited reasons for visiting the police department as most calls are made to the homes of those reporting a crime.

{The article also points out that officers don't cycle back & forth between the jail, the courts and hdqtrs., so .. I would like to know how, or whether this plan coordinates with fire and medical services, & what, if any, effect this proposal has on Douglas County Sheriff's coordination, 911 coordination, etc.??} . Not sure what you mean...What coordination would LPD have with fire and medical?? Fire and Medical have a fairly new fire station campus at 19th/Iowa (2006 or 2007 I think) which cost several million to build, they are renovating their downtown building for $7 million, and the one on Wakarusa Drive was just built not to long ago. The Sheriffs Department and 911 center would remain at the Law Enforcement Center.

{Also, doesn't the west side get more weather (wind, black ice, wind sheer, and possible power interruptions? The power lines in west Lawrence are underground. Not sure what the wind and ice matters related to a police department. The police are a 24/7 agency...they dont close down when the weather is bad.

Gary Stussie 1 week, 2 days ago

"Those include the Design-Build method, where a designer and contractor team are selected at the beginning of the process based on qualifications and a price set instead of opening the project for bids."

"INSTEAD OF OPENING THE PROJECT FOR BIDS"?

Design-Build method does not (and should not) eliminate competition.

Dropping "Bid" from Design-Bid-Build does not imply that sole-source award to team based on review of qualifications is a Design-Build project..

One-Step Design-Build method - All interested competitors (designer/contractor teams) submit significantly complete design and proposals.

Two-Step Design-Build method - Step 1 ... All competitors submit qualifications. Step 2 ... Subset of competitors who are deemed to be potentially capable are asked to submit significantly COMPLETE design and proposals.

Award is based upon evaluation of proposed designs and adherence to established budget.

Design-Build places significant expense upon each designer/contractor team but does have significant benefits to owner on large building projects. Two Step Design Build method prevents teams which are not really competitive to be eliminated before they incur significant design/proposal costs.

Sign in to comment

loading...