Stanwood police headquarters to close for remodel

STANWOOD — It’s not a huge project, but it will take time.

Stanwood police headquarters will be closed for up to three months beginning Dec. 10 for a remodel.

That means closing its doors to people walking in off the street for background check fingerprinting, concealed weapons applications or dropping off medications for disposal.

The city has hired John Piazza Jr. Construction of Mount Vernon to do the work. It will include refurbishing the lobby, building new office space for its sergeants and lone detective, moving the computer server, and installing new flooring and painting. The cost is $164,000.

The Stanwood Police Department was established in 1960 when the towns of East Stanwood and Stanwood combined. The police station has been in the former Seafirst Bank building at 8727 271st St. NW since the early 1990s. That building was constructed in 1947.

“The front lobby is deteriorating and it’s not (American With Disabilities Act) accessible,” city manager Deborah Knight said.

Their temporary quarters will be in a building nearby. It won’t be opened to visitors because it can’t be made secure, Knight said. People can continue to reach the department at 425-388-5290.

City officials are encouraging people who need fingerprints or to file for a concealed weapons permit to get it done in town before Dec. 10. Otherwise, they’ll need to go to another law enforcement agency, such as the sheriff’s office.

Stanwood contracts with the sheriff’s office for law enforcement services. Under the agreement, the city keeps its own identity, including policies and procedures aimed at meeting its small city needs. Uniforms and vehicles are identified as Stanwood Police. The department serves a population of roughly 6,300 and has at least one officer on duty at all times.

Knight said the police department hasn’t had any significant upgrades since moving into the station.

The police headquarters, as well as City Hall, lie within a flood plain. Over the years, the city council has studied the possibility of moving to higher ground, but there currently are no such plans.

Federal regulations prevent the city from spending more than half the value of the property on improvements unless the building can be made flood proof. That is something the city isn’t confident it can do right now. The water table is so high that the police station likely cannot be protected from water seeping up from below, even if measures were taken to protect it against flooding around the building.

A remodel of Stanwood City Hall originally was planned around the same time as the police station’s makeover, but plans for city hall would require expensive flood-proofing measures or a move to higher ground. The city plans to look into both options in the coming months.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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