Design progressing on new Alabaster police station

Published 10:53 am Friday, January 4, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A Birmingham engineering firm is wrapping up discussions with the divisions of Alabaster’s Police Department, and likely will present a suggested layout of the city’s new police station in the next few weeks, city leaders said during a Jan. 3 City Council work session.

During the work session, Alabaster City Administrator Brian Binzer gave council members an update on the progress the project has seen over the past several weeks.

During a Nov. 19, 2018, meeting, council members voted unanimously to enter into a contract with Williams Blackstock Architects to provide architectural and engineering design services for the new building.

If constructed, the 30,000-to-35,000-square-foot building likely would be near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Fulton Springs Road on land the city already owns, and would house the Alabaster Police Department, Municipal Court and magistrate offices.

Williams Blackstock will handle the schematic design of the building and will serve as the construction administration company for the project for a fee of 6 percent of the total cost of the project.

Through the agreement, the company will complete design and construction documents in 10-to-12 months, and construction likely will take 12-to-14 months. The estimated budget for the project is between $10 million and $12 million.

On Jan. 4, Binzer said the engineering firm is in the process of interviewing members of the different APD departments to assess each department’s needs in the new building, and said the company likely will wrap up those interviews in early January.

After the interviews are completed, the company will construct a rough layout of the proposed new police department, including square footage recommendations, to present to council members during a late January work session, Binzer said.

In September 2018, the city voted to enter into contracts with the Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood company to conduct geotechnical and environmental studies on a few pieces of property near the intersection of U.S. 31 and the newly expanded Fulton Springs Road.

Through the contracts with Goodwin, Mills and Cawood, the city paid the firm $5,000 to provide environmental consulting services, and will pay the company $6,975 to conduct geotechnical studies on the land. The studies determined the land was suitable to house the police department.

Alabaster’s current police station is near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Second Place Northwest, and has been in use since the 1950s. The police station was able to expand into the top floor of its current building after City Hall moved into its new location in 2015, but the aging building constructed several decades ago is struggling to meet the needs of a department serving nearly 30 times the population it did in the mid-20th century.

APD originally was set to get a new police station through an agreement between the city and the developer of the upcoming District 31 shopping center near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Interstate 65, but land constraints didn’t provide enough space for the new police station near the shopping center.