In 2016, Cedar Park’s police and fire departments will begin designing expanded facilities for meeting, office and training spaces.
The expansions will be funded by a portion of $96.7 million in new public bonds, which the city could issue in 2016 after voters in November approved all four bond propositions on the ballot. Proposition 2 called for $7.55 million in bonds that would finance three new projects for public safety departments.
During bond planning in 2015, each department estimated costs for new building space. Officials said they needed new space to meet the needs of their growing departments.
Commander Bryan Wukasch of the Cedar Park Police Department said the number of police personnel has grown by about 72 percent since the department moved its headquarters on Quest Parkway in 2003. The police department has moved three or four people into offices meant for one person and converted meeting rooms to more offices, Wukasch said.
“We are up to about 125 employees working in this building,” Wukasch said. “Every time the city puts in a rooftop [or] puts in a new business, that equates to [more] calls for service.”
In the coming months the police department will work with an architect to design and plan costs for a new wing for the police headquarters and schedule times for construction. Wukasch said the new 11,150-square-foot wing would expand the headquarters to 39,150 square feet, adding space for offices and lockers. He said the department could also add 1,125 more square feet for an evidence processing bay.
Existing rooms at the headquarters could then be used for other purposes, such as a larger area for the emergency call center, he said.
Plans also include converting an unused fountain area in front of the building for parking and a memorial, and converting a former prisoner holding area into an evidence area, he said. All three projects together could cost about $5.73 million. The total would include about $1.77 million from the 2015 bond and about $3.96 million left over from previous bonds.
Fire department needs
James Mallinger, Cedar Park Fire Department Chief, said a fifth fire station could be built for about $4.32 million and open by 2018 on Cottonwood Creek Trail. The station would be a joint effort by the city and Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, which would station an ambulance there.
Mallinger said the fire department has its own space constraints because of new personnel.
About $1.43 million in bond funds will support finishing an unused building at City Hall for the department’s use.
The building would host needed offices and training space for assistant chiefs, the fire marshal and the city emergency management coordinator, Mallinger said.
“We estimate both of those projects to happen fairly early in the timeline,” Mallinger said.
Timelines for fire and police expansion have not yet been decided by Cedar Park City Council.
Mallinger said he will also ask city leaders to consider other transportation projects that he said represent a higher priority for emergency services. For example, he recommends prioritizing an expansion of New Hope Drive from Toll 183A to Ronald Reagan Boulevard.
“When we get the new station … [New Hope] will be a primary response route,” he said.