Council approves funds for north station plan

December 19, 2018

A $1.25 million contract will help guide efforts to expand the use of Rochester’s North Police Station.

With limited comment Monday, the Rochester City Council approved the contract for architectural services from BKV Group.

“We need to make sure we have the space, not only for today but into the future,” council member Mark Bilderback said.

The site of the former Think Bank at at 4001 West River Parkway was initially purchased in 2016 for $3.2 million to serve as a police precinct when space began getting tight in the city-county Government Center.

Now, with the city taking over some planning services, available space in City Hall is becoming scarce as well.

As a result, plans for the police station have expanded to include a one-stop shop for development needs, which would move some current City Hall offices to the site. Additionally, council members and city staff cited changing needs as staff numbers grow.

To cover expected needs, current plans for the north station site call for renovation of the existing space and expanding it to accommodate police needs. Total construction costs are estimated at $18.4 million, which is a portion of an overall $22 million in estimated expenses for the project.

Council member Michael Wojcik said the expected price tag means the city must take a closer look at its long-term space needs to consider future expenses.

“This is going to be a hit on the property tax levy as soon as the bonds are out, and that means it’s something we have to plan for,” he said.

Once plans for the north station are finalized, construction is expected to be done in two phases, with the first including reconstruction within the existing building to allow the city’s Building Safety Department and potentially staff from the Community Development and Public Works departments to move into the building. Building Safety’s lease with Olmsted County is set to expire at the end of 2019.

The proposed second construction phase will involve the expansion to meet the police needs, with plans for the project to be completed in 2021.

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