The city of Maryville has hired the Kansas City-based architectural firm of Williams Spurgeon Kuhl & Freshnock to provide a "needs assessment study" for a proposed new Public Safety headquarters.
According to Public Safety Director Keith Wood, the study will comprise site evaluations, cost estimates and conceptual drawings for a new facility, which would replace the converted grocery store at 222 East 3rd Street that has served as Maryville's police and fire station since the mid-1970s.
WSK&F was selected from among eight design firms that responded to a request-for-qualifications issued by City Hall on Feb. 28. The $37,400 study is to include detailed evaluations of at least four possible sites, schematic drawings, architectural renderings and square footage estimates.
The decisions on where, when and if to build a new Public Safety facility will be made by the City Council late this summer as it hammers together the budget for a new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1
Replacing the nearly 40-year-old police/fire station is listed as a priority in the city's newly adopted comprehensive growth a development plan, which notes that the 8,600-square-foot building is cramped and lacks handicap access and sufficient restrooms.
Perhaps of greater concern is the absence of such basics as an adequate interrogation room, controlled access, secure storage and bullet-proof glass, all standard operational fare for a modern law enforcement facility.
Space is also at a premium in the 4,000-square-foot fire division portion of the building, which consists of multiple truck bays but contains minimal office and storage areas.
One of the issues WSK&F may take a look at involves the possibility of a shared 911 dispatch facility that would handle communications for Maryville Public Safety, Nodaway County Ambulance, the Nodaway County Sheriff's Department and possibly the Northwest Missouri State University Police Department.
Presiding County Commissioner Robert Schieber said this week that a shared dispatch office, perhaps located in the Nodaway County Administration Center, is a commission goal.
He added that he believes such a facility would offer at least some cost savings and streamline the process of dispatching first responders in the event of fires, wrecks and other emergencies.
Public Safety Director Wood, however, responded that past studies regarding combined dispatch indicate such an operation would be a break-even proposition at best.
He also said the city's existing dispatch system, based in the police/fire station, is integrated with other municipal law enforcement tasks, and that moving it to a separate location could create more problems than it solves.
Complicating the issue is Missouri's lack of a cell phone tax to fund enhanced 911 facilities. Such a levy exists for landlines, but those revenues are declining as more phone customers go wireless.
Another problem is that the county's dispatchers are also trained to work as jailers. Moving the sheriff's dispatch office out of the jail, therefore, would likely force Nodaway to hire additional personnel.
Page 2 of 2 - Schieber is nevertheless hoping that "further discussion" involving city, county and university officials can take place on the shared dispatch issue. City Councilman Glenn Jonagan pledged that Maryville would "keep the door open" to a workable solution.