After 25 years of being “roomers” at the Ada Sheriff’s law enforcement building on Barrister, Boise coppers have a new home on Sailfish off Emerald west of Maple Grove. The entire department is in the process of moving during the next 10 days.
Officially known as “City HAll West,” the coppers will have about 80,000 of the 93,000 square foot facility formerly owned by Hewlett-Packard and used as a call center. The rest will be for fire department administration, city IT staffers, and a few folks to take various parking, trash, and permit fees.
The most costly and innovative feature in the building is a “Safety Cell” at the front entrance. It is designed as a refuge for domestic violence victims or anyone else seeking to escape pursuers. It comes with an honest to goodness red PANIC button which locks the outside door and connects people to 911 via intercom. The building will not be staffed after normal business hours, hence the innovative safety feature.
The facility was purchased for about $10 million and another $5 million went into outfitting it for the coppers. There are abundant conference rooms, “soft waiting areas,” break rooms with kitchen facilities, ample locker room space with separate facilities for lady coppers. Lockers are wired for power to recharge radios, phones, and the rest of the gizmos hanging off the copper belts.
The structure has a workspace layout that makes sense with the various division captains getting offices with outside views, but with glass walls. That way everyone knows who is talking to the Capt., but they can’t hear what is said.
The vast structure has hallways named after Boise streets for easy Identification. “My desk is near Broadway and Idaho hallways” will make sense to those who work there.
Top copper, Chief Mike Masterson, made a concession to common sense by doing away with a “chief copper crapper” in the new building…he will never make it as Interior Secretary. Friday he was mired in the process of moving from the old Barrister site. His office had a phone and not much else, but he vowed most everyone would be into the new site by April 1.
One thing that has to go away is an abundance of very unwelcoming signs in the parking lot proclaiming most of the spaces for “authorized vehicles.” There is plenty of secure parking for copper cars out back.
This is at least the third site deemed to be the “best location” for a police headquarters for the coppers. GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier won a 4th District Court decision against the city when they tried to build a much more expensive facility at 2900 Fairview in a flood plain and enter into long term debt without approval of taxpayers. This building was the result of excess taxes over about a 5 year period with no mandate of voters, but it DID save some taxmoney.
The real saving was in the wiring and computer friendly design (wiring and false floors) of the former H-P structure. Even the crime lab was able use some existing items like sinks, refrigerators and dishwashers used for the original cafeteria.
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Mar 20, 2009, 4:33 pm
Looks like a score to me. They got the place for $107.square foot with all the land and ample parking. The remodel costs have to be added into the final cost but overall a bargain.
Too bad the politcos in Canyon County can’t figure this out and latch onto the MPC building for a new jail instead of pecking on our collective heads about a fancy new building with all the bells and whistles.
Mar 20, 2009, 6:31 pm
The way city, county and state offices keep moving around (often to streets most of us have never heard of), seems like the only way to find them might be to break a law under whichever jurisdiction and the coppers will take you to the appropriate place.
How far is this place from the jail? The courts? Downtown?
Building sounds like a good deal, but it has me wondering about the mileage involved for the coppers and the public. ?????
(OK, maybe I’m old-fashioned (or just old), but I thought it made a lot of sense when the Idaho Capitol, Boise City Hall, Ada County Courthouse and sheriff’s offices, the Federal Building (courts, IRS, SS, etc.) State Law Library, Boise Fire Department hq, etc., were all within downtown — most within easy walking distance of the others, others a very short car trip away.
Anybody could find them easily, and people who had dealings with several governments could visit all of the offices in one trip.
Gotta be a better way.
Mar 20, 2009, 7:54 pm
Even though the manner in which the new digs were financed is a continuing frustration for many of us, the Police Dept. needed to move. My only concern is “one way in-one way out.” I have to think that was considered and planned around a potential emergency.
Mar 21, 2009, 1:46 am
Sounds like a bargain but it drives a stake in the efforts to cooperate/coordinate with the county to bring law enforcement entities closer together. I know it never worked perfectly but it was a start we were supposed to be building on. This sort of tears it apart.
And, I’ve never heard of a police station that is not manned (womaned?) 24-hours-a-day even if only by one old cop the kids drive crazy like in old Scottsdale.
Mar 21, 2009, 7:52 am
The reason it doesn’t need to be manned 24/7 is because the dispatching and jail functions for Boise City/Ada County are all at Barrister. It’s not that far away from their new building so this is a good deal – gets an unused building recycled for a good purpose at probably the lowest taxpayer cost.
This is a far better facility than the new courthouse downtown. What a nightmare that place is – no decent parking, poorly laid out, and was too small when they built it.
Mar 21, 2009, 8:31 am
The great thing about this is the reuse of an existing building. Our valley is full of empty buildings and they should all be used before one more patch of ground is destroyed for any new building. Sounds like a win to me!