Lawrence police share details and tentative timeline for new headquarters
photo by: Nick Krug
Attendees of a question and answer session about the Lawrence Police Department’s new $17 million headquarters got more details about what police hope the facility will include, both now and in the future.
The city’s 2018 budget raised the property tax rate by 1.25 mills to pay for the construction of phase one of the police headquarters. In December, the Lawrence City Commission voted to build the headquarters on city-owned property at 5100 Overland Drive, which is behind the Walmart near Sixth and Wakarusa and nearby Free State High School.
The presentation included a prioritized list of components the police department would like phase one of the project to include. The list includes 28 possible components broken into two priority levels. Topping the list is office of the chief, information technology, records, patrol, evidence and forensic processing.
Phase 1, priority 1
Office of the chief
“The first column that you see is what we really would like to get in phase one,” Police Capt. Anthony Brixius told attendees. “…The reason that you don’t see those definitively in there is because we do have a set amount of budget, and we don’t know what phase one can include yet.”
Phase one components listed in the second priority level include an outbuilding for large vehicles and a fitness room. Priorities are also identified for phase two of the police headquarters, which has not been funded. Brixius said phase two of the police headquarters would be a training center. The priorities for phase two include a range, armory, simulation room and training room, among other components.
Phase 1, priority 2
Outbuilding (large vehicles)
Office of Professional Accountability
Crises Response Team
Patrol service dogs
Mental Health Unit
Drug Enforcement Unit
One of the main questions asked by attendees was how the new headquarters will affect traffic in the area, which experiences heavy traffic due to its proximity to Free State High School. Assistant Director of Utilities Melinda Harger said a traffic study will be completed as part of the project, but that the public entrance to the police facility will most likely come off of Overland Drive. Brixius said officers reporting for patrol will generally not overlap with peak traffic periods related to the start and end of the school day.
The timeline and upcoming process for the project was also outlined. In addition to the $17 million for construction, the city already allocated $1.5 million in its 2017 budget for the project’s architecture and professional services.
The site is 29 acres, about 16.5 acres of which will be used for the police headquarters and the remainder for a city park. Harger said that currently, the site is zoned as open space, and that the headquarters project will require rezoning, platting and a special use permit. She said the design and rezoning process is expected to begin in August.
Harger said city staff is proposing that the police headquarters be constructed using recently approved alternative delivery methods, meaning the process deviates from the standard design, bid, build procedure. The City Commission is scheduled to consider a proposal to use the construction manager at risk method at its meeting May 15. Construction would begin in spring or summer of 2019 and be complete the following year, according to a tentative timeline.