Chubbuck announces plans to build new City Hall
CHUBBUCK — This Southeast Idaho city is moving forward with its estimated $11.5 million plan to construct a new City Hall building and to renovate the existing City Hall on Yellowstone Avenue to serve as the headquarters for the Chubbuck Police Department.
Construction on the new City Hall building is expected to begin next summer. The completion of the new City Hall building and the renovation of the old building is expected to finish 18 to 24 months after construction begins, according to Rodney Burch, public works director for the city of Chubbuck.
Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England told the Journal on Wednesday that the current City Hall, located at 5160 Yellowstone Ave., not only houses the Chubbuck Police Department, but all city departments, too, including the clerk’s office, utility billing and the public works department, which includes engineering, planning and building, sewer and water, and all the operational departments for the city.
“The part of the building occupied by the police department was made for about 10 officers and three or four support staff and they have four times that number of employees today,” England said. “Every department we have is actually strapped for space.”
Furthermore, England said that in the last decade, the population of Chubbuck has nearly doubled, which will undoubtedly demand increases in government services and the need for additional staff, equipment and facilities.
England said the process of determining what to do about City Hall began earlier this year after various meetings with department leaders. Those meetings ended with the city of Chubbuck outsourcing a facility needs assessment, which was conducted by the Boise-based LCA Architects.
Both LCA Architects and the Pocatello-based Myers Anderson Architects are involved with the Chubbuck City Hall project, Burch said.
The facility needs assessment found that the current City Hall facility is 40 percent deficient in terms of necessary operational space, Burch added.
The study also outlined several major drivers of space needs, which were broken down into the various departments that call City Hall home.
The study indicates that as Chubbuck continues to grow it will need to add additional departments and staffing. This includes space for a legal department, a grants manager, an economic development specialist, an elected official assistant and a purchasing agent.
Furthermore, the study found that Chubbuck will need two additional fire stations by 2027.
“Station No. 2 will be required by 2022 and Station No. 3 will be required by 2027,” the study said. “The need of the additional fire stations is primary for meeting required response times and to also cover the expected city growth once the new Northgate interchange is constructed.”
One of the most significant problem areas outlined in the study was the lack of space for the police department.
“Nearly all areas of the police building are undersized and overcrowded, including the public lobby, report writing area, interview/interrogation facilities, locker facilities, and especially property evidence,” the study said. “Property evidence is currently dispersed among the police building, and several trailers located offsite. The facility lacks a multipurpose area that should serve as a community meeting room, defensive tactics training room and emergency operations center.”
Burch noted that the facility needs study was conducted based off Chubbuck’s historical growth data for the last 10 years as opposed to future development projections that would include the planned Northgate Interchange.
Also included in the City Hall project is a plan to build a new animal control facility. Burch said it is likely that the old animal control building will be demolished afterward considering how old the facility is and how much wear and tear it has weathered in recent years.
In addition to building a new City Hall and renovating the old building, England said the city of Chubbuck will also add a new fire station in the next three to four years.
“Without bonding any money or asking the community to come up with any extra dollars, our plan calls for building a new city hall, remodeling the existing city hall into the police department, building a new fire station in the next three to four years and building a new animal control facility,” England said.
As of now, England said there is no set location for where the new City Hall will be located. To help determine where it would be best housed, England said the city has developed a citizen advisory committee that will consist of city staff, a city council member, some business members in the community and several Chubbuck citizens.
“We want our citizens to have a say in what happens here,” England said. “We also want this process to be as open and transparent to the public as possible.”