By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The City of Belton and the Belton Police Department broke ground last Wednesday on an expansion/renovation project that will add more than 8,000 square feet to the Police Department and serve as a building block for future phases. Planning for the project began in 2008, when the city identified the need for additional police space.
“It’s had a good life as-is, but Belton has changed so much in those years since 1990,” Mayor Marion Grayson said. “I’m sure we’ve almost doubled in population; our police force has grown, and our space has not. This will change that.” The cost of the project is an estimated $3.2 million, which required a $1.1 million fund reallocation last month from the City Council. This extra money allowed the department to include critical additions in the project, such as furniture and extra parking.
“We tried to meet the needs of the police department with the available dollars, and that was certainly a challenge,” City Manager Sam Listi said. “We had to identify a little bit of extra money, and now we’re ready to go. This is a great opportunity for us to meet some of the needs we have in the community.”
In 2013, the department hired Architects Design Group, based out of Florida, to lead the design of the building alongside Baird Williams Construction, the Construction Manager at Risk. ADG is the premiere architecture company in the nation for public safety buildings, particularly police building design.
“We’re fortunate to get them,” Ellis said. “We’ve had conversations for a number of years prior to getting a design. They’ve hung in there with us and tweaked and changed and tweaked and changed again. Now they’ve got us a great design.”
Daniel Barrett, Project Manager with Architects Design Group, was on hand at the groundbreaking. “My experience with the Chief (Ellis) has been one of the best,” Barrett said. “ADG has been around for 40 years and worked with plenty of municipalities. We tighten the belt to make this project efficient and functional at the same time and serve needs. I think we’ve done that, and it’s a testament to how good the Chief is at staying on task and his laser focus of making sure he gets what he needs for his department. It’s a pleasure to work with him and the rest of the City of Belton staff.”
Once construction on the addition is complete, renovations to the existing police building will begin. “I can’t thank everybody enough for their support of the project,” Grayson said. “I know the police officers are going to appreciate it when it gets built. They have struggled to stay within budget; they have been awesome about it to get the space that they need but keep the taxpayer dollars in mind.”
When finished, the project will have added or renovated nearly 16,000 square feet. “In about 10 months, we hope to bring you all back for an open house,” Ellis said. “Our guiding principles are reduction, prevention, safety, partnership and quality of life. That’s all brought home in this building.”
The completion of the project also serves as an important milestone in the department’s continued endeavor to provide the highest quality of service to the Belton community.
“The city had done a study prior to my arrival (in 2009),” Ellis said. “We turned that into the police strategic plan. It had 16 items on it to achieve. This is the last one. To borrow (former Belton Mayor) Jim Covington’s famous slogan, ‘It’s a great day in Belton.’ Belton is a growing, dynamic city, and this isn’t just the police building; it’s the community’s building.”