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Alexandria approves design plans for new police station

Alexandria City Council members - and the public - now have a better idea of what a new Alexandria police station will look like.

Detailed building plans, site drawings and images of the proposed new facility were presented at Monday's council meeting.

The council unanimously approved the schematic designs for a 24,000-square-foot facility based on a total project budget of $5,105,000.

Included in the cost is $275,000 to prepare the site, located near the new county jail along 3rd Avenue West. The work includes demolishing the old city park department building and a round storage structure that was once used as a water treatment plant.

The design is just one part of the planning phase of the project, which is only about 50 percent complete. Several other steps must be taken before construction could begin, including calling for and accepting bids on the project.

The building would house administration, records, offices for patrol officers and detectives, a community meeting room that could also be used for training, and other rooms for investigations, evidence processing and other police operations.

Representatives from Ringdahl Architects and Wold Architects and Engineers went over the plans with the council.

They said the guiding principles of the design are to make sure the facility has a clear and distinct identity as the Alexandria Police Department.

The architects said they also want the lakes and the local community reflected in the design.

Some of the design highlights include:

--An area in the lobby will showcase the history of the department.

--Day lighting techniques and an open office layout will maximize views of the lake and the city so it visually connects with the community.

--An exterior plaza will also provide a connection with the community and make it a community hub.

--A parking garage will separate the facility from the jail.

--Parking will include 30 secure spaces, 16 visitor parking spaces and 14 spaces in the parking garage.

--The facility will feature a modern, non-traditional appearance, with modern aesthetics, technologies and efficient operating systems.

--The open layout of the squad room will leave space for future growth. Other expansion areas will be available off the parking garage, the mechanical/electric area and the lobby/training room.

In other action, the council:

--Approved building department's annual report for 2009.

Although construction within the city's building code area dipped about $5 million - from $55.12 million in 2008 to $50.12 million last year - building activity remains steady, according to Bruce Jaspersen, building official.

"We didn't have a bumper year but it was close," Jespersen said.

The figures include the valuation of projects within the city, newly annexed areas and code administration areas in Hudson, LaGrand, Lake Mary and Alexandria townships.