by Dennis Dalman
The gears are in motion to proceed with plans for a Sartell Public-Safety building that would house both the city’s police department and its fire department.
The city hopes to approve the start of construction next year with the building’s opening in 2020. A tentative site for the project is a 15-acre lot south on Pinecone Road south of the Walgreen’s store and north of of Heritage Drive.
At its April 9 meeting, the Sartell City Council approved service agreements with firms who will do the preliminary work for such a building, including such aspects as soil borings, architectural design, structural engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and more.
The firms will be paid a sliding-fee-scale percentage of the total cost of the building, estimated at between $11 million and $15 million, said Sartell Administrator Mary Degiovanni. She noted the city will bond for part of that amount this year and the rest next year, once the total costs are known after the bids come in.
Degiovanni also noted that during the next two years, other city debt will be paid off so the tax rate would be kept level for any additional borrowing.
The firms that will do the preliminary prep work are the following: Hagemeister Mack Architects, St. Cloud; Wold Architects and Engineering, St. Paul; Larson Engineering,White Bear Lake; and Strack Construction, St. Cloud. The city’s contracted engineering firm, Short Elliott Hendrickson, will also have input into the project preparations.
The Sartell City Council has long been aware of crucial space constraints at the fire department and the police station. In the past two decades, the number of personnel, the equipment, storage needs, training space and emergency calls have nearly tripled or quadrupled at both places. Personnel have to share offices in crowded conditions and in some cases offices must be used to store things that should rightfully be placed in secured storage areas.
As the population of Sartell rapidly increased, so did the demands on public-safety services – both fire department and law enforcement.
The council plans to place both services in one large building with a large training space or spaces between the two halves that can be used by both departments.
The police department is located on Second Street S., and the fire department is located just north of there, along Fourth Avenue S.
The Sartell Public-Safety Facilities Committee is comprised of the following members: City Council members Mike Chisum and Ryan Fitzthum, City Administrator Mary Degiovanni, Public Works Director John Kothenbeutel, Community Development Director Anita Archambeau, Police Chief Jim Hughes, Fire Chief Jim Sattler and a consultant team of City Engineer Jon Halter, architects and construction manager.