Planning started on new home for Lake Stevens police

The goal is to start construction early next year on a 18,000-square-foot police station.

LAKE STEVENS — The city is moving forward with plans for a new police station and, eventually, City Hall in the Chapel Hill area.

It’s one piece of an ongoing effort to revamp downtown Lake Stevens and relocate city services to a more centralized spot. Lake Stevens is a community that has grown over the past two decades from a small city near the northeast corner of its namesake lake to the fifth largest city in Snohomish County. It now nearly encircles the county’s largest lake.

The goal is to move officers and other staff into a new building in 2020, community development director Russ Wright said.

Eventually, the property is expected to be developed into a civic campus, he said. At least some city employees and services would move there, but that won’t happen for five or more years, Wright said.

There’s no final estimate for construction, but at this point costs are expected to run about $10 million, he said. Determining how that would be paid for is part of the next step in planning, once designs are in the works and there’s a better cost estimate.

The current police building is 11 years old and was built before much of the city’s population growth, including multiple annexations. The department is at least four times the size it was when the station was built, Chief John Dyer said. There are 33 officers and eight additional staff.

“As the city has grown, the population center has shifted,” he said. “The new site is much more central as to the main population base. It’s close to the transportation center and Highway 9. It’s much more accessible.”

The new police station is to be built at the corner of 99th Avenue NE and Market Place, on the west side of the lake not far from Highway 9 and Frontier Village. The city bought property there in 2016 with a civic campus in mind. Planning for what that might look like started in 2017.

The goal is to have a space the police force can grow into, Dyer said. They also want a floor plan that fits their needs. For example, they do not have a designated space for processing evidence.

“Not only is the space small, but it really wasn’t designed with police operations in mind,” Dyer said.

Detectives, patrol officers, records clerks and others plan to work with architects on designs, he said. A team has been visiting other police buildings to gather ideas.

The police station would be about 18,000 square feet. The goal is to start construction early next year. The criteria the city is using to determine which firm it will hire includes “the ability to meet an accelerated timeline.”

The current police station is off Grade Road, northeast of the lake. The city is working on a number of changes in that area. City Hall, at North Cove, has been torn down and replaced with temporary buildings until a new permanent City Hall can be built. The plan is to expand North Cove Park and create more recreational and business opportunities nearby. That’s been met with some concerns from historical society members who worry for the future of the city’s museum at North Cove.

The city earlier this month started looking for architects and engineers to design the new police station. Officials plan to review proposals after April 18.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

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