SLO considers replacing police station with public safety center

November 7, 2021


San Luis Obispo City officials discussed replacing the current police department with a $52 million public safety center at last weeks SLO City Council meeting. If approved, construction would begin in the next four to five years.

The proposed facility would add an additional 21,000 square feet of space that would include a 1,492 square feet community room and a 2,800 square feet emergency operation center. The community room would help promote transparency and connections with the community, said Police Chief Rick Scott.

“It is a very exciting time as we are in the process of re-imagining policing and this opens up a lot of opportunities to re-engage our community in a different way,” Scott said.

Even so, proponents of last years defund the police movement voiced concerns of the cost and impact on minority populations.

“Certainly, seismic retrofitting and ADA compliance are reasonable to allocate funds to, but the community room feels a little redundant of other spaces,” said R.A.C.E. Matters founder Courtney Haile. “ A community room at a police station certainly doesn’t make everyone feel safe. Public safety is a relative term. This could add to the distrust.”

Constructed in 1969, the current police department was built to serve a population of 28,000 people, while there are now more than 47,000 people living in SLO. City staff also proposed retrofitting the existing station at a cost of approximately $18 million.

City official will evaluate their options over the next several years, while considering community input.

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I must agree with womanwhohasbeenthere. $52M for 21,000 is about $2,500 per square foot. Absurd. I remember when the County corruption hub… I mean government center was built. I recall the published cost was about $400 per square foot. At the time, that was almost double what a normal building like that should have cost. $2500 per square foot sounds more like at least four times what this building should cost. Sounds like maybe 75% or more of the money is to pay for cop toys to go inside. This assumes the final cost is, in fact, $52M which is unlikely. womanwhohasbeenthere may be pretty close at $100M. Such an increase above the original estimate would not be unusual on a government project, usually due to errors and inept planning.

Plus anyone gullible enough to think it will only cost 52 million. The name of the game is lowball the quote just to get the contract and then make it back on “change orders” or a number of other so called legit ways to add another 20% or more to the final number, likely at least 65 million. The county animal shelter was one recent example, actual cost ballooned after the original cost was announced.

That goes for size too! “Imagine” a 37,768 square-foot station which is more than twice the size of the current 16,768 square-foot station. Then “settle” for one that’s “only” 29,900 square feet.

I remember when the SLO County Govt Center was being built. The low bid was by Kajima Construction Services of SoCal. Somewhere around $20M.

Then came the price increases. County managers were proud of themselves. They were keeping costs under control while helping Kajima so that it “would not go out of business” mid project.

Even though Kajima Construction Services is a branch of Kajima, USA — a company which builds skyscrapers in large cities…

$52,000,000 for this police station is ludicrous. Retrofit the existing site to earthquake standards, or build one on a larger parcel such as the old Emerson School, where the Parks Department is – plenty of ground for parking, near downtown, city already has the land – or better yet, put a satellite office on the south end where all the development is occurring.

But don’t expect any input from the citizens to be taken seriously. This is already a done deal. The original price tag was $47M, now it’s up another $5M and will be over $60,000,000 when done. The city is technically insolvent, owing $170 million just to CalPERS alone, and millions more elsewhere in bonds, so what’s another $52,000,000 from city taxpayers?

Far better to build a Taj Mahal than stop bicycle thefts, property damage, drug trafficking, trashing of our parks and downtown by the permanent homeless, and all the other added joys afflicting ordinary residents in SLO.

“build one on a larger parcel such as the old Emerson School”

Wow. that’s a really stupid idea that makes zero sense. The Parks and Rec building is much smaller than the current Police Station parcel and has a very small parking lot, and also is currently occupied by… the Parks and Rec department. Or are you are proposing destroying all of Emerson Park including the fields, basketball/baseball courts, playgrounds, and community garden, paving it over, and putting a huge complex in the middle of that quiet residential neighborhood? That is insane. Emerson park is a valuable and essential public park in the downtown area and serves a vital need in the community. We should be adding more green space in town, not paving it over.

That parks and rec building always makes me laugh. The park is open to recreation, yet it has zero restroom facilities. There are also big signs on the building announcing that there is no restroom availability inside. What a joke.

That building shouldn’t even exist. It’s as if the city had to crap on the edge of the new property they had acquired from the local school district to prove ownership.

So you are saying the Parks and Rec department shouldn’t exist or just that they don’t deserve an office? Also, there are plenty of parks that don’t have public restrooms, why should this office be required to open up their restrooms to the public just because they are right next to a park? Would you want all the homeless people in the park using the bathrooms in YOUR office simply because of where it was located?

Don’t ever try to speak for me. Not ever.

I’m suggesting P&R should have an office or two in city hall with anything else out on Prado Road at the Corporation Yard. They didn’t need a micro Taj Mahal! Particularly one that didn’t provide public use restrooms!

It’s out-and-out brain-dead to create a city park which hosts team sports, build a Taj Mahalette, AND NOT build an adjacent public restroom. That’s outright obtuse.

Paragon doesn’t care how much anything costs because they don’t pay property taxes to SLO like the rest of us. I’m for a new facility but with common sense needs, this shouldn’t be part of the new Chiefs “reimagining policing”.

Naw, I’ll do what I want, but you need to work on your reading comprehension because I asked a question, I wouldn’t even want to fathom what is in your muddled psyche to speak for you. However, you do seem to be obsessed with your little “Taj Mahal” comparison. Comparing a small unassuming parks and rec building to one of the seven wonders of the world that is widely regarded as the finest and most sophisticated example of Indo-Islamic architecture is the only thing “outright obtuse” here.

And Tatro, I pay plenty of property tax, but unlike you, I don’t have to rely on the proceeds from a cry-baby lawsuit to do so.

I am all for re-imaging policing. I image building them a state of the art building with fabulous kitchen, an up to date workout room, a rest area for the long shifts, a modern jail underground with no windows and no escape and many more items that would show the police how much we need and respect them. We can take whatever money they need from the homeless budget who don’t really want anything anyway as indicated by their lack of effort to acquire anything.