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Dave Olson, Published December 03 2012

WF calls for police station proposals

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo City Commission voted Monday night to invite architectural firms to submit proposals on how they would approach building a new police station for the city.

The vote came after commissioners reviewed four options presented by Zerr Berg Architects of Fargo, which worked with the city to come up with concepts for how a new police station might fit onto land the city owns just east of the current joint City Hall/police station.

The commission held off endorsing a specific option after hearing from Police Chief Arland Rasmussen and City Administrator Jim Brownlee, both of whom favor a single-story plan with the capability of building a second floor later if necessary.

That option would include a ground-level parking garage.

Rasmussen told commissioners the option, expected to cost about $6.1 million without the second floor being built, would likely satisfy the police department’s needs for some time.

“I think we can make it 10 years,” Rasmussen said.

At one point, officials weighed the pros and cons of including an underground parking garage in the police station plans, an option that tacks about $1 million onto the price tag.

Officials said the benefit of that option is that it would free up more city-owned land that could be used for something else.

The Police Department expects to grow from its current size of 38 officers to about 80 officers in the next 20 years.

Rasmussen has said department employees are already so crowded they are “sitting on top of each other.”

All of the concepts presented Monday anticipate the old police department space being remodeled to accommodate other city departments.

If the call for proposals goes smoothly, selection of an architect and construction on a new police station could happen by next summer, said Brian Berg, an architect with Zerr Berg Architects.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555