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Phoenix unveils plan for public safety complex

Submitted drawing An illustration shows the outside of a new $16 million government and public safety center planned in downtown Phoenix.
Residents can learn plan details at a town hall meeting Tuesday
Submitted drawing An illustration shows the outside of a new $16 million government and public safety center planned in downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix residents can get a look at the latest design for a $16 million government and public safety center Tuesday at a town hall meeting.

Those who are developing the two-story, 24,000-square-foot project will be available for questions during the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Civic Center, 220 N. Main St.

A $16 million state appropriation will fund the building, which will house administration, fire and police services after part of the campus was damaged by the Almeda fire. Jackson County Fire District No. 5 leases space at the site from the city.

An informal approach will be used for the open house, said City Manager Eric Swanson. People can drop in to talk with the design team and will be able to walk around the space to see displays.

“Not everybody will come to attend a City Council meeting, but we are hopeful of a good turnout for the town meeting,” said Mayor Terry Baker. “We hope people will know how things are moving forward.”

Recent completion of the schematic design phase means that the latest renderings of the building will give a view of the likely appearance. Among features are metal “eyebrow” canopies or frames on different areas of the building, with red ones being used to denote where fire operations are located.

“We will be able to answer questions on the building and what the construction phases will look like,” said Richard Randleman, senior project manager with HMK Company, which is overseeing the work for the city and will be present Tuesday. “We just want some folks to get some information on the project overall, what it will look like and the timelines.”

City officials and representatives from Adroit Construction and ORW Architecture will attend the session. ORW will have visuals to show both the inside and the outside of the building.

City officials completed a “page turn” with HMK and the architects recently. The process serves as a review of preliminary design work.

“What it essentially does is lock down the concept. It locks down the design features and what is necessary for it to enable the project to move forward for final designing,” said Randleman. “It gives all the stakeholders a chance to say, ‘Yes, this is what we need.’”

There hasn’t been much comment from the public so far about the project, but there has been some dialogue with folks who live adjacent to the fire station, said Randleman.

“They see us out on the site,” said Randleman. “For the most part I think people are excited about getting a new facility. The beautiful part of the project is that it is in the exact footprint of what was there before.”

State lottery funds will supply money for the new building at the West Second Street site. A modular fire personnel housing unit was damaged by the Sept. 8, 2020 fire. An old former library houses administrative staff, while the police department is in a double-wide unit.

The current fire station was built in 1941 and has four equipment bays. The new station will allow for larger equipment.

Three architectural firms are working on the project. Besides ORW, they include Soderstrom Architects of Portland and Arkitek of Ashland. The three firms worked together to present concepts with city and fire district officials to the Legislature in 2021 to secure the funding.

“Usually, architectural firms don’t want to share. It’s a big enough project so that it is really hard for one firm to manage,” said Randleman. The three firms submitted a proposal that was accepted by the city. A contract lays out each firm’s responsibilities.

“They each have expertise. Some have more in fire stations, other more with police stations,” said Randleman. “We really benefit from the three different firms’ expertise.”

Adroit Construction was selected Feb. 7 by Phoenix City Council for the construction manager/general contractor position. Construction work could begin in July. Completion is projected for December 2023.

In February the city purchased a lot on the northeast corner of the site that will be utilized for parking. Both city workers and visitors to the adjacent Phoenix Grange had used the lot for parking with consent from the property owners. The lot will be paved and used by the city during work hours and be available to the public at other times, said Baker.

City workers will move from their current locations into temporarily configured spaces at the Civic Center to allow for demolition before construction. The move is expected to begin in mid-June.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.