Building for safety: Center that will house emergency response staff takes shape
With just a few months to go before its official opening, northwest Dickinson's new Public Safety Center is quickly taking shape. The 42,500-square-foot building will soon be the new headquarters for both the Dickinson Police and Dickinson Fire d...
With just a few months to go before its official opening, northwest Dickinson’s new Public Safety Center is quickly taking shape.
The 42,500-square-foot building will soon be the new headquarters for both the Dickinson Police and Dickinson Fire departments, as well as emergency dispatch.
Engineers and emergency responders alike are calling the new building a “beacon of safety” that will serve Dickinson’s growing community.
Relocating to the modern facility just off State Avenue and north of 21st Street West will allow the department to better respond to emergencies on the west side of the city, Fire Chief Bob Sivak said, where growth has been most prominent. He estimated it could cut down response time from as much as 15 minutes, depending on traffic, down to as little as 6 minutes in some cases.
“Geographically, this is really where we needed to be, as far as how Dickinson has grown and how it’s projected to grow,” he said. “Location is everything.”
Crews have been working continuously since ground broke last summer, constructing the curved exterior of what JE Dunn construction manager Marc Mellmer calls “an extremely trendy building.”
JE Dunn project engineer Kyle Johnson said the design and construction process has been a team effort from the beginning.
Members of both departments, as well as city officials, have worked closely with design firms Schutz Foss and Roth Sheppard and engineers from construction management firm JE Dunn to shape the facility, from the flow of the building to its corten-paneled walls and expansive glass windows, revealing the three-truck apparatus bay. The group meets weekly “just to make sure everyone’s on the same page,” Mellmer said.
“It’s extremely thought out and calculated,” he said. “They have all been heavily involved in designing specific spaces of the facility.”
Though it’s not the first project JE Dunn has taken on involving ballistic walls and high-security access areas, Mellmer said the building is unique in that two distinct departments will share the space - police along the north half of the building, fire on the south.
Among the amenities being built into the new center will be a 50-person conference room able to host regional meetings, a fitness room, an indoor parking garage for police vehicles, evidence lockup, private dorm rooms for on-call volunteers and a shooting simulator for target practice.
“It’s pretty high-tech stuff,” said JE Dunn project engineer Kyle Johnson. “It’s the wave of the future.”
Both Sivak and Police Chief Dustin Dassinger noted the shared conference room as one of the highlights of the building.
“That’s a huge feature,” Sivak said. “We like to have ourselves considered as a regional training facility. This meeting room, with all of the audio/visual, is going to be a tremendous asset to both our departments.”
Dassinger said the “state-of-the-art facility” will help his department recruit and retain staff.
“It will be a huge morale booster for our current employees,” he said. “We’ll actually have space to store more items. We’re just crammed for space really bad.”
The project’s $17 million cost covers about $14 million in construction, and $3 million or so in what Mellmer calls “furniture and fixtures,” including some new equipment for both departments.
Plans for the facility began back in 2008, but it wasn’t until the boom hit Dickinson that Sivak and Dassinger agreed both of their departments needed the modern facility and co-wrote a grant for $1.5 million to put toward the project.
After the police and dispatch move to the facility this summer, the Stark County Sheriff’s Office will be able to expand at the Law Enforcement Center. The fire department will retain a presence at its downtown Dickinson station, Sivak said, adding that the team will do its best to keep full-time staff at both locations in addition to volunteer response.
The city has plans to build out State Avenue north of 21st Street West, with possible improvements to 21st Street West as well in the future. If construction of the building stays on schedule, the keys to the Public Safety Center will be handed over on July 31, a moment both Sivak and Dassinger say they look forward to.
“The building was designed for the future,” Sivak said, “not just the current need.”