by Cori Hilsgen
The St. Joseph City Council recently voted in favor of having consultants prepare documents for a new government center/police station project to open for bids.
City staff hopes to have the request for bids out in early spring. If a bid is chosen and approved by the council, construction of the center could begin soon after.
The estimated cost of the project is $4.4 million. That includes tearing down the current building, relocating staff and construction of the new center. The center would be less than 18,000 square feet and would be built on the current site, which includes a corner lot purchased last year.
It would include all city and police-office facilities, a council chambers, a community room that could be used as two spaces, a lobby and a garage.
City Administrator Judy Weyrens said the current center is between 8,000 and 9,000 square feet. It was purchased for $545,000 and was remodeled for $329,000.
A combination of funds already established for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling, and the roof, tax levy and sales tax revenue will be used to build the new center.
Mayor Rick Schultz said it’s hoped the new building will serve the City of St. Joseph for the next 40 or 50 years.
The council has reviewed various alternatives including adding space on to the current facility, remodeling the current building, moving to a new site or building a new center. The St. Joseph Economic Development Authority recommended the government center continue to be located downtown. After a year of study and review of future space-needs, the council decided this was the best option and the right time to move forward.
Council member Steve Frank voted against the motion.