The expansion and remodeling of the Howard L. Brown Public Safety Facility was the sole topic at the annual Blue Springs Public Safety Advisory Board’s public forum held Tuesday evening.

Representatives from both McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie, Inc. (MWL) and Treanor Architects explained the addition and renovation of the existing public safety building that would include the removal of both the water tower and separate Community Youth Outreach building at the site in downtown Blue Springs.

“The main goal of this addition and remodeling is having a civic presence,” said Andy Pitts from Treanor Architects. “We’re trying to do a lot with this site.”

The plans of the proposal would convert the existing facility into a three-level building with the inclusion of several windows that would allow more natural light. Each floor would be designed to accomodate many functions that law enforcement perform daily, such as providing rooms and sections exclusively intended for evidence storage, forensic analysis, etc.

“Functional site planning, an efficient workplace, security planning, and planning for the future were some of the criteria we consider to be very important in order to establish what measures success,” said Dean Roberts of MWL.

The first floor has “pretty significant improvements,” according to the two presenters. Some additions include the integration of the community outreach center into one facility and adding a new municipal court/council chambers.

“(The new municipal court) will be very much bigger than what we currently have,” said Pitts.

The current multipurpose room at the Howard L. Brown building will be “repurposed and incorporated to the new additions,” said Roberts.

Other improvements and additions include a larger public lobby, multiple front and rear entrances for both staff and public, an increased detention area that will now provide a separate section for juveniles, and floors specifically for dispatch and administration.

Additional parking lots will be created along the 11th Street and Southwest Smith Street intersection that would be available for both the expanded public safety building and downtown businesses.

The project also consists of acquiring property at Barett Park industrial park that is owned by the city and is a couple blocks away from the safety building site, and adding a separate facility that would house animal control services, bike patrol equipment and also serve as a garage for the Special Tactical Assistance Team.

“We have no short term placement for animals,” interjected police chief Wayne McCoy. “One of the goals of this project was to bring animal control services back and have a facility to temporarily place animals.”

One citizen in attendance questioned about the removal of the water tower. According to Pitts and Roberts, Blue Springs public works has concluded the tower no longer serves any function. “The water tower will no longer be needed,” replied Pitts. “There is no pressure or storage capacity.”

A police officer also in attendance asked about the safety of the planned revamped building. He postulated an intruder could access any of the floors by elevator and infiltrate the facility. “The facility will be equipped with security cameras and you will need keycard access to use the elevator,” answered Roberts.

The estimated cost for the remodeling and expansion plus the additional site at Barett Park is $22 million. Of that, $16.8 million, according to Pitts, would be for construction costs and the difference will cover relocation, new furniture and other contingency expenditures.

When will the remodeling be complete?

Tentatively by the end of summer 2015, according to both Pitts and Roberts. The two hoped finalized construction designs will be finished by February 2014 and actual construction will begin by April. Funding will be provided by the tax revenue that was passed in April 2011 dedicated to public safety.

The public is welcomed to attend the next Public Safety Board Meeting on Dec. 10 at Blue Springs city hall beginning at 6 p.m.