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Published by: KENTPDHELPER on Sep 26, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Kent Police Building
88 Years and Counting
Why do we need a new Kent Police building?
The Police building was originally built in 1924 and despite significant investments made to prolong itsservice life, the building has reached a point where it would cost more to fix it than it would cost to builda new one.
Exterior Deterioration Examples Interior Deterioration Examples 
The Police Station was ready to be replaced 17 years ago but City leaders had an outdated Fire Stationto deal with first so the decision was made to build a new Fire Station and repair the Police building.That decision gave the Police building another 17 years in service but City leaders today find themselveswith a 88 year old building that has been patched, painted and plugged so many times that thearchitects say the only logical fix is to knock it down and build a new one.In addition to the day to day problems that come up trying to run a modern Police Department in an 88year old building, the City has also been put on verbal notice by the State of Ohio CorrectionsDepartment to bring the outdated building into compliance with current standards for public jails or beprepared to be shut down.The City has been able to point to the on-going new facility planning efforts to avoid receiving anofficial State closure notice but with the risk of being shut down or hit with a lawsuit increasing everyday, City Council put the issue on the November 6
ballot to let the voters decide if they want Kent tohave a modern Police station that is functional, cost effective and compliant with all safety codes andstandards.
Why are city voters hearing about the need for a new Kent Police Building now?
 The need for a new Police facility has been publicly discussed andreported in the news media for nearly 20 years. That’s a long time fornews to stay fresh so it’s not surprising that the Police building problemsmay not be commonly understood.City officials have been actively planning for a new Kent Safety Buildingsince 1995, when the firm Horne and King Architects was first hired toevaluate the structure and determine baseline and projected policedepartment space needs.As the years passed additional study work was performed in 2000, 2008and again in 2010 by David Sommers & Associates LLC (Kent, Ohio) toupdate the data and to explore options to partner in a new buildingwith the Portage County Courthouse and Kent State University safetypersonnel. The partnership option would have helped share the costs ofa new facility but unfortunately the timing in 2008 didn’t work to make a joint facility possible.The findings of the various studies and media reports provide a 17 yearchronology of the deteriorating conditions inside and outside of thebuilding. The architects’ analysis offers a list of facility deficiencies, including building safety concerns,non-compliance issues, inadequate workspace and sub-standard utilities that are inefficient and costlyto maintain.
From a functional standpoint the architects concluded that “the building is living on borrowed time” withoperational deficiencies inherent to the layout of the building that compromises the ability of Police personnelto do their job.The City is not in a position financially to justify putting more money into the building knowing that the buildinghas exceeded its service life so the City is asking Kent voters to consider supporting financing a new buildingwith a new dedicated income tax levy.
Interior Wiring Code Problem
Couldn’t the City keep making repairs rather than constructing a new Police facility?
The City was able to squeeze an extra 17 years out of the existing building through repairs and renovations butgiven the age and footprint of the building there’s only so much that can be done to make the best out of thesubstandard space.The architects have documented a wide range of building deficiencies thatwill continue to require costly, temporary fixes. Plus, given the age of thebuilding, many of the building systems are not in compliance with modernbuilding and zoning codes, National Fire Protection Association requirements,Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction regulations or theAmericans with Disabilities Act.The building has reached a point where the costs of making repairs increaseseach year while the functional value of the building keeps going down as theoutdated space and antiquated building utilities prevent the City fromutilizing all the modern technology that is available to protect public safetyand operate a modern Police facility.As it stands today, the building that houses the City employees dedicated to public safety is actually one of the worst violators of public safety in the City. It is difficult forthe City to lead by example and compel private buildings to comply with public safetystandards when the City’s most prominent building is in such poor condition.A review of the City’s capital improvement plans show where the City did its best to extend the life of theexisting building but the architects have indicated that given all of the work that needs to be done, it would bemore cost effective to construct a new building.
Does the City know what is needed for a new Police facility and how much it will cost?
The architects have performed a series of space studies that take the number of Police personnel and
Projected Space Need 
(2 story building)
square feet 
First Floor = 20,702Second Floor = 9,911Total 30,613Administration: 1,500Public Entry: 2,148Services/Records: 3,600Operations: 5,548Jail: 4,956Investigations: 616Detectives/Juvenile: 3,634Emergency: 1,330Other Building: 625Mechanical: 6,656Total 30,613*Current Building Size = 21,461Net Increase = 9,152
calculate total space needs using industry wide standards for Police facilities.The architects then develop the room plans based on a workflow analysis thatseeks to maximize the functional layout of the building.In terms of numbers, the building’s most recent addition was constructed in1977, bringing its total size to 21,461square feet. Thirty-five years later, thearchitects have determined that the Police Department needs at least 30,000square feet of space to function efficiently and effectively.Using recent police facility construction costs, and projected land costs, thearchitects were able to estimate a cost of $13 million for the new building withland costs likely between $4 and $5 million.
How will the City pay for the new building?
The City’s finance team looked at a number of different options to pay for theconstruction of a new Police building.With cash reserves ($8 million in 2011-12) declining due to City the budgetchallenges created by the downturn in the economy over the last 5 years,paying cash for the building up-front is not an option. It turns out that withinterest rates at record lows, the cost to borrow money is very affordable so thestaff recommended a 30 year bond issue to finance the new building. The Citywould pay approximately $1.3 million annually to pay off the bond in 30 years.
Kent City Council is asking voters to make an investment in their safety services by supporting a 0.25%
income tax levy that would generate the $1.3 million annual bond payment. Kent’s income tax rate hasnot increased since 1984
, when voters approved the current rate of 2%.
What will a 0.25% income tax increase cost me?
Passage of the 0.25% levy means that beginning in 2013:Those who earn $30,000 annually will pay $1.44 more per week, or $75 per yearThose who earn $40,000 annually will pay $1.92 more per week, or $100 per yearThose who earn $50,000 annually will pay $2.40 more per week, or $125 per yearThose who earn $75,000 annually will pay $3.60 more per week, or $187 per yearThose who earn $100,000 annually will pay $4.80 more per week, or $250 per yearRetirees or those on fixed income who are not currently paying income taxes would
be affected bythe new levy.The proposed .25% income tax is a dedicatedtax levy which means that the funds collected by thenew levy can
be used for the purpose of paying for the costs of financing the construction of a newPolice building.If the final costs of the building come in lower than estimated, or if the new levy generates more newincome tax than is needed to pay the annual debt on the new Police building, any excess funds will gointo a Police building reserve account up to a cap of $1 million. Although unlikely, any funds receivedbeyond the $1 million cap could only be used only on street repair projects in Kent. None of the newfunds could be used for any employee salaries.
Where would the new Police building be located?
The City’s Bicentennial Plan, approved by Kent City Council in 2004, recommended the consolidation ofCity buildings, including the Police Building, to create a CityCampus that would geographically co-locate as many Cityservice areas as possible in convenient proximity to one another.A City Campus offers the prospect of greater staff productivityand efficiency, improved coordination, and better conveniencefor the public. The block that contains the existing the Fire andPolice Stations was identified as a prime prospect for a CityCampus since a number of City functions are already locatedthere.Since a location decision is going to have to stand the test oftime for another 60 to 70 years, the City leadership felt it wasimportant to do their due diligence, looking at as many sites aspossible in order to find the site that would be the best fit for Kenttoday and for decades to come.The first step was determining what a “best fit” would look like ina site. Through a series of interviews and research, the architectssuggested that a great site would have the following attributes:
1) Rapid Egress (centrally located for fast response/dispatch time);2) Good Community Access (high visibility and parking);3) Favorable Tax Impact (supports economic development);4) Gateway Impacts (improve/welcome to community);5) Adequate Infrastructure in Place (roads, water, sewer, gas, etc., all available with capacity);6) Community Pride (attractive building, community asset);7) Proximate to Downtown Kent;8) Promotes Urban Redevelopment (eliminates blight);9) Environmental Quality (no contamination problems);10) Zoning Conformance (meets City zoning requirements);11) Urban Context (appropriate building scale, materials, and character)

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