Inside Burnsville’s police department, patrol officers cram into shared space designed for a fraction of its current workforce. Across town, the city’s 46-year-old Fire Station 1 may be at “the end of its useful life.”
Those are among the findings of a recent study by an architecture firm recommending up to $24 million in changes to five city properties between now and 2025. City officials met April 14 to discuss needs for the police department, two fire stations, City Hall and a maintenance building.
Garrett Beck, a Burnsville recreation supervisor, said the age of the buildings and the changing needs of the departments using them prompted the study, completed by Wold Architects and Engineers.
The building used by the police department is more than 24 percent below 2015 industry standards for square footage and 32 percent below what is projected to be the standard for space in 2025, according to the study. Since the police department’s headquarters was built in 1989, Beck said, equipment changes and staff size have outgrown the existing space.
“They’ve made do with what they had because they had to,” Beck added.
Burnsville Police Sgt. Jeff Witte said the department’s top priorities are consolidating space for evidence processing, packaging and storage and improving office space for the department’s patrol unit. Right now, Witte said, 47 officers share space designed for 12.
Wold recommended a $4.6 million renovation of the police department on a list of $8.3 million in short-term city building needs. In addition to remodeling 19,850 square feet of existing police department space, Wold recommends adding 3,600 square feet for sensitive equipment and vehicle storage.
Burnsville officials are waiting for a pair of fire department studies and a report from the city’s public works department before firming up a proposal to bring before the City Council later this year or in early 2016.
“This is just a piece of the puzzle,” Beck said, referring to the Wold study.
It’s a piece, though, that suggests Burnsville’s Fire Station No. 1 is no longer of use at its location at 911 W 140th St. Fire Station 1’s size — 14,250 square feet — is nearly 29 percent below industry standards for both 2015 and projected needs for 2025.
Wold recommends a $4 million replacement of Fire Station No. 1, among a list of $7.4 million in midterm building expenses. Long-term estimates also call for a $1.2 million renovation of and addition to Fire Station No. 2, which is 34 percent below 2015 industry standards for space.
But officials are waiting for the studies before spending money.
Beck said one fire department study is looking at five other cities that could reach an agreement to share firefighting services with Burnsville. A separate response-time study could shed further light on the best locations for any fire stations in Burnsville in 2015 and beyond.