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Group doing due diligence on proposed FPD building

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

A committee comprised of members of the Frankfort Police Department and city officials are in the process of vetting the companies submitting proposals to build a new police headquarters.

Police Chief Troy Bacon updated the Frankfort City Council Monday on the department’s receipt of two proposals, one from American Structurepoint and the second from KJG Architecture working with Zimmerman Architectural Studios, which has designed several police stations in its home state of Wisconsin.

Based on complaints from council members about the cost and prudence of remodeling the FPD’s existing land-locked building, the committee is now vetting plans for an entirely new structure on another site.

Team members will visit stations designed by ASP and ZAS.

Bacon, Captain Jim Skinner, Patrol Officer Josh Ruben and Board of Works member Jim Siegfried will visit the new Michigan City headquarters designed by American Structurepoint.

On Friday, Bacon, Ruben and City Council member Clarence Warthan will travel to West Bend, Wisconsin, to see one of ZAS’s projects.

The West Bend Police Station was completely renovated beginning in 2012 and ending n 2013, according to the West Bend Current.

Bacon said Skinner was selected for his 30-plus years of experience. Knowing some of the problems the department has experienced in the past with its current building, he can help the committee avoid those in the future. 

He described Ruben as a young, smart officer who can help bring a long-haul perspective to the project.

However, he said, all members of the department, including the civilian employees, will participate in surveys and input on the new headquarters.

Next week, the group will meet with representatives from both firms individually, said Bacon.

“We’re looking at the work they do, what’s in their RFPs (request for proposals), and that, coupled with our interviews, we feel we’ll get the best firm for the project,” he said.

“By the last week of this month – for the Board of Works meeting – we may have something then,” he noted.

“The process has been pretty smooth, and I’m very proud of the work of our committee.”

Council member Lewis Wheeler said managers at some of Frankfort’s manufacturing plants had wondered if a joint building with the Frankfort Fire Department had been considered. Wheeler said suggestions were to locate a new single structure on the west side of the city nearer to the industrial park.

According to Bacon, the idea had been considered. “But the costs started skyrocketing – probably double the cost of a building for only the police department,” he explained.

Bacon said the committee was doing its due diligence to ensure a new facility that served not only the FPD but also Frankfort taxpayers.