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MailTribune.com
  • Medford City Council approves new police station design

  • A new police station design reminiscent of the Lithia Motors headquarters was selected by the City Council on Thursday.
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  • A new police station design reminiscent of the Lithia Motors headquarters was selected by the City Council on Thursday.
    Most councilors voiced support for the plan, though some suggested adding a few curves or rounded corners.
    "This is very nice, but I'm concerned its going to be dated in a few years," Councilor John Michaels said.
    The council was offered two options for the design of the building selected by a committee.
    The council chose a plan that it felt conveyed a strong civic presence, with lots of glass, vertical lines, tan masonry and aluminum panels.
    "It's a very good design," Councilor Daniel Bunn said.
    The option that wasn't favored featured darker colors and a front that curved outward.
    The 47,292-square-foot police headquarters will be three stories tall, with the entrance facing Ivy Street near the corner of 10th Street. Construction is expected to start next year.
    The city will continue to tweak the design and may add some other elements. A final plan will be presented later.
    The police headquarters and a parking garage have a budget of $18.8 million, paid through a 30-year bond that will be paid off through a hike in utility fees. A secure parking garage would be built behind the headquarters.
    The first floor of the station would feature a lobby, a community room, a records area, an interview room and locker rooms for female and male officers.
    The second floor would have processing and interview rooms, as well as offices for investigators and patrol officers.
    An entrance known as a sally port will be located on the second floor of the parking garage to admit suspects and keep them away from the public on the first floor.
    The third floor would feature training and briefing rooms, administrative offices and a corner office for the police chief.
    Some councilors expressed concern that the women's locker area was much smaller than the men's. Women make up only about 10 percent of the police workforce now, although police Chief Tim George said he wants to increase that number.
    "I'm surprised that there is not more flexibility in the size of the male and female areas," Councilor Dick Gordon said.
    David Wilkerson of Ogden Roemer Wilkerson Architecture of Medford said he would look at possibilities to make it easier to enlarge the female locker area in the future.
    Wilkerson said some of the design elements in the building are similar to other downtown buildings built in recent years.
    For instance, the metal panels on the police station exterior would resemble the aluminum panels on the Lithia headquarters.
    "They're similar to the Lithia building but they're not imported from Switzerland," he said, referring to the provenance of the panels.
    Wilkerson said his original proposal for the building included a lot of "ins and outs," referring to features that make the building less boxy.
    He said any curves or rounded corners add to the cost of the building and present other design challenges.
    Wilkerson said the plan is constrained somewhat by the size of the city lot, which required a lot of discussion about the design.
    "There's not an ounce of fat in the plan," Wilkerson said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.
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