GULF SHORES — City officials are taking the first steps to replace the police station built about 40 years ago.
The Gulf Shores City Council voted Monday, May 9, to approve professional service contracts for architectural and program management for a new Justice Center.
Police Facility Design Group was scheduled to provide architectural services for about $2.06 million.
Volkert Inc. will provide program management services for $910,000. The company will oversee scheduling, design management, construction management and coordination, according to city reports.
Marc Acreman, city engineer, said city officials have been working on the project for several years.
"This has been a multi-year process to get to this point," Acreman said. "In year one, which was 2019, we hired Matrix Consulting Group to perform a citywide staffing and facilities needs assessment. In their final report, which was received in 2020, the number one recommendation for new city facilities was a new justice center/police station facility. This was the highest recommendation out of the group, and it is the highest need."
He said that while Gulf Shores has improved many city buildings, the police station has not changed and cannot be expanded.
"The majority of the city's facilities are relatively new except for the police station," Acreman said. "That facility was built, I believe in the late '70s, early '80s and has not had much expansion capabilities in the past year. We've pretty much maxed it out probably 30 years ago and we've not been able to expand it since."
Mayor Robert Craft said the center has been needed by law enforcement and courts for many years.
"For the police department, you've been waiting your turn," Craft said. "Obviously, it's an old, outdated facility and we've completed a lot of other things, but we're here and I know you've been patient and I appreciate that, and I know you deserve something like this and it's going to be a great opportunity for us to provide the right atmosphere for you to work out of, but also the right and appropriate way to deal with our courts."
"This is a big deal for the city. It's a big important process," he added.
In 2021, city officials hired Architects Design Group Inc. and Volkert to study what would be needed to meet the needs of police, courts and corrections.
While a final estimate on the price of the Justice Center will not be made until the design is complete, Acreman said the design costs, $2.97 million, is believed to be about 10% of the final cost.
The center will be built on Cotton Creek Drive south of the Gulf Shores International Airport, Acreman said.