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City looking into public safety building expansion

The current Woodbury Public Safety Building may see an expansion project in its future if one is included in the city's 2010-2014 capital improvement plan. Staff photo by Hank Long

The city of Woodbury is exploring the idea of an expansion to its public safety department building on the southwest corner of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road.

Last week public safety department heads presented to city council members an informal request for a proposal that would allow the department to explore the costs associated with an expansion.

Woodbury Public Safety director Lee Vague said the hope is that the department can finish a job it started in 2001 with the first phase of an addition to the old city hall building that was previously converted to a public safety headquarters.

The plans for an eventual expansion include construction of additional parking spaces and construction of a training room that can double as an emergency operations center.

The city council originally discussed an expansion of the public safety department in 2004, but due to budgeting issues and the economic climate, the expansion was taken out of the city's 2005-2009 capital improvement plan.

Plans for the expansion are likely to be included in the city's 2010-2014 capital improvement plan, said Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis, who cited recent results of community survey that indicated more than two-thirds of residents surveyed expressed support for the city issuing bonds to fund the public safety building expansion.

"It seems we have the capacity to do it and keep our taxes down," Hargis said. "We want to be good stewards we know public safety is an important service that the city provides. We want to make sure we are giving (the department) the support that it needs."

Additionally, the city's recent upgrade to AAA bond rating and the fact that there may be federal stimulus dollars available for such improvements improves the chance of a public safety building expansion sooner rather than later, Vague said.

"This is all stuff we know we need to do," he said. "Its' not a matter of if, it's when and if we can find some stimulus money to kind of help and lessen the burden of the city that would be a nice thing."

Vague said he doesn't expect any work on the next phase of the public safety building expansion to begin earlier than 2010 or 2011.

The city council is expected to vote on a capital improvement plan for 2010-2014, which will likely include the public safety expansion project, at its June 10 meeting.

The last expansion to the public safety building was originally approved in 1999.

Plans were completed for a 26,000 square-foot addition to the existing building.

The expansion project was began in 2000 and was completed in September 2001, according to a staff report to the city council.

A two-story addition was added to the south end of the building and most police division functions were moved to the new addition.

Fire division functions were moved into the office areas vacated by police.

The design of the new addition was completed to allow for the construction of a third story expansion over a portion of it.