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posted: 8/20/2013 5:30 AM

Glen Ellyn considers new police station at rec center site

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  • Glen Ellyn officials are considering locating a new police department on the site of the Spring Avenue Recreation Center, owned by the Glen Ellyn Park District.

      Glen Ellyn officials are considering locating a new police department on the site of the Spring Avenue Recreation Center, owned by the Glen Ellyn Park District.
    Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer


Space constraints at the 85-year-old Glen Ellyn Civic Center have led to consideration of moving the police department off-site, including a key proposal to build a new station on the current site of the park district's Spring Avenue Recreation Center.

Glen Ellyn officials have recently been looking at ways to solve the space crunch at the village's headquarters at 535 Duane St. -- a three-story structure that was built as a junior high school and purchased from Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 in 1970 for use as a village hall.

A consultant, Dewberry, hired by the village in late 2011 conducted a space needs analysis study that officials say has brought to light significant deficiencies or liabilities in the amount of space in police department and village offices.

For instance, the prisoner intake area is through a garage located in the parking lot where there are civilians; there's a crammed space for investigations and evidence storage; and there's ventilation problems such that the smell of marijuana from a recent drug bust made it to the front desk.

"It's not a good setup," Police Chief Phil Norton told village trustees on a tour of the police department offices Monday. "It's not a setup you'll see in any other modern police facility."

The consultant's study recommends a variety of on-site and off-site solutions that range in cost from $200,000 to $20 million.

The latest option being considered by village officials, called "Scheme 5" in Dewberry's report, is construction of a new $16.8 million police station at 185 Spring Ave., on the site of the existing Glen Ellyn Park District facility.

The building currently contains space for district administration offices, a boardroom for park district commissioners, a small fitness center, and classroom space for dance and preschool. Previously, the building was an elementary school and, later, headquarters for the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.

The park district will likely hire a consultant to conduct a building assessment study of its own to evaluate the possibility of consolidating operations of the Spring Avenue building with the Main Street Recreation Center, according to Dave Harris, the park district's executive director.

At the same time, parks and village officials have had preliminary discussions about the possibility of locating a new police station on the 11.8-acre Spring Avenue site.

"We as fellow governmental agencies have conversations with one another, and you're always trying to maximize the use of public assets and public dollars," Harris said. "(But) we're at a very early stage."

Under the proposal, the park building would be demolished and a two-story, 40,900-square-foot structure would be built on the same footprint. It would include a 4,000-square-foot firing range. The $16.8 million cost doesn't assume any site acquisition costs because of the potential for an agreement with the park district, village officials said.

The park district's dog park on the site would be preserved, Harris said.

Moving the police department out of the Civic Center would free up more space for expansion of other village offices throughout the building. It's also possible the third floor would be available for lease to the park district or private businesses, according to Village Manager Mark Franz.

It's also possible District 41, which has been conducting a space needs analysis, might be looking to acquire the Spring Avenue site for a new school.

Franz said he hasn't "had conversations with District 41 on that issue because we're kind of fighting for the same facility potentially."

The other off-site police station possibilities are identified in Dewberry's "Schemes 4A and 4B" that suggest a new two-story, 40,200-square-foot building either near Glenbard South High School or Panfish Park. The two preliminary sites, each about 3 acres, were "test fit case studies," and neither are wholly owned by the village.

The first site includes the Church of God property on Park Boulevard north of Butterfield Road. The second is to the south of the entrance to Panfish Park on the east side of Park Boulevard, where three single-family homes are located. One of the homes is owned by the village.

The estimated cost is between $13 million and $20 million.

Here's a look at the other options identified in the space study:

• Schemes 3A and 3B: Construction of a three-story building addition at the Civic Center for the police department, and a new two-level parking facility for either 88 or 108 cars on the site of the current 78-space parking lot.

Officials say the village board room and community spaces would move to the second floor gymnasium space, making available the entire third floor for potential lease, while the police department addition would free up space for other village departments.

The cost is estimated at $20 million.

• Scheme 2: Construction of a one-story, 10,500-square-foot addition on the southeast corner of the Civic Center for the police department, and major renovations to the gym. The department of planning and development would be relocated to the first floor, and the finance department would be consolidated into one location on the first floor. But the addition would mean the loss of 12 parking spaces.

The cost would range from $600,000 to $10.4 million.

• Scheme 1: A "limited, low-cost approach" that would solve space issues for a small portion of village staff for about $200,000.

Some village trustees said Monday they'd like to see more specifics on the costs of each proposal before making a decision on which option they prefer.

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