One year ago, voters in Provo said yes to a $69 million bond to build a new city hall, police station, fire station and to redo Fire Station 2.
The progress since has been fast for Station 2, which is already under construction, and slow and methodical for the new city building.
On Wednesday, residents will be able to help move along the build out of the city hall when architects, department heads and Mayor Michelle Kaufusi hold an open house to get input on what the exterior portions of city hall should look like.
The open house begins at 6 p.m. at the Provo Rec Center and will feature five areas for resident input and information as well as a video of what has happened so far and the timeline yet to be fulfilled.
“The design (so far) has been an internal design process and who better to know what police need that the chief of police or fire chief on the fire station,” said Scott Henderson, project manager.
What needed to happen first, and may still be in progress, are the internal changes on departments and personnel.
“The whole reason we’re doing this is to move people around now, then move them into a new building,” Kaufusi said.
Kaufusi said she is wanting the one-stop-shopping to be implemented and be going strong so personnel can get to work the first day and be successful.
“Citizens have sent us a huge amount of trust,” said Isaac Paxman, deputy mayor. “We said, let’s pull this whole thing apart and see what’s needed. I can’t overstate how monumental the process has been.”
Henderson added, it has caused organizational changes in departments for ease and best design in the building.
Police Chief Rich Ferguson said the new safety facility has been on his mind for a very long time. He has had serious discussions on how to do things right.
“Our current facility has been insufficient for so long we have to think what is right and adjust,” Ferguson said. “We will have the ability to grow for the next 30 to 40 years out and meet the public safety needs of Provo.”
The police department will be professional right from the lobby. There will be an element of privacy that doesn’t exist now, Ferguson said.
“There will be security for the staff and our vehicles,” Ferguson said. “These architects understand public safety buildings and they understand my needs.”
Ferguson added, “I am confident our evidence room will be secure. And we will have a crime lab.”
The Emergency Operations Center will be between the police, fire and the legal departments. Public Safety will occupy five stories with the fourth level being the administration, fire administration and EOC right between.
The EOC will have dedicated spaces for all of the partners that join in during an emergency, including the Red Cross, Dominion Energy, Brigham Young University reps, and more.
And most importantly there will be kennels for the four police dogs.
“We are already seeing changes in the morale. These officers are being validated,” Ferguson said.
Fire and Rescue Chief Jim Miguel is not only excited to have a new high-tech emergency operations center, but his new station will also be fitted for high tech. And, he will have more room, much more room.
“We’ll have adequate office space enough to have our command staff in one building,” Miguel said.
The current downtown fire station, other than the truck bays, is only 800 square feet for office space.
“Now we can have the appropriate number of people and resources in downtown,” Miguel said. “I can’t begin to tell you how excited our fire staff are. It’s a big deal.”
With a 14-story building being built in Provo, Miguel is also looking for more high tech operations and ways to handle potential fires in this and other high rises.
Fire Station 2, which was part of the bond and located in northeast Provo, is in the construction phase now. It should be functional by next summer according to Miguel.
“This is the first new fire station in 20 years,” Miguel said.
The design team responsible for the new facilities is VCBO Architects, with Brent Tippets as lead architect. This is the same company that designed the Provo Recreation Center, Fourth District Courthouse and the Provo Power building.
“We have met multiple ties with department heads and developed layouts in relationship to the building,” Tippets said. “It’s been a challenging process. People have been without for so long they didn’t know their need.”
Tippets said they still struggle with the $69 million budget, but he also said the building will not be opulent but functional.
As for the technology, Tippets said that is always a moving target. The interior designs are being made to accommodate change and upgrades as they are needed.
“Conference and meeting spaces with have connectivity and flexibility,” Tippets said. “The current police state was built when GPS was still just used by the military.”
Tippets added the design is focused on service, safety and community.
“People will come and have their needs met,” Tippets said. “it will be safe for staff, a place of pride and a place to gather.”
Henderson and team encourage the public to visit Wednesday night and put their suggestions in on how the exterior, plaza, landscaping and other outer aspects of the building should look. Renderings will be on display.