Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger had hoped to be sending out an open house notice for the city’s new police station.
Instead, he found himself facing yet another delay this week after the final inspection turned up 47 violations.
Those problems — reportedly all minor fixes — must be corrected before the city can issue a certificate of occupancy and the department can move across the parking lot to its new $8 million digs.
“It’s not untypical when you get a building this size to go through with the inspection and have things not quite right,” Metzger told the Herald.
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“But it seems to be a higher number of (violations) here, so it might take a little bit longer than expected,” he said.
Opening of the Pasco Police Community Services Building is five months behind schedule.
The original target date was June. More recently, Metzger said they’d been looking at the first part of December.
Now, the department might not take over the building until late December or early in the new year.
Since that’s in the thick of the holiday season for both city crews who will handle the move and police department staff to set up their offices, the open house may be on hold until all are settled in.
Metzger admits it is frustrating when they’re looking forward to vacating the old facility, and can only look at the new 38,000-square-foot building sitting empty next to City Hall.
Officers have been going into the new station every day “to keep an eye on it,” he said.
“Moving a police department is probably unlike any other business because you’ve got security concerns, particularly with records and evidence,” he said. “We’ve had several planning meetings to try to get this in place and we know what we’ve got to do, we’ve just got to be able to get the building done and be able to do it.”
The station will more than triple the size of the department’s current space, with room to build out as the city continues to grow. It is on the site of former grassy ballfields just east of the City Hall parking lot, between Nixon and Sylvester streets.
The building will have a multipurpose use, which is reflective in its name. A community room that can seat about 120 people and be split in half with a movable wall is adjacent to the lobby.
Construction costs have been covered by the 2011 public safety sales tax approved by Franklin County voters.
The project is being handled by Total Site Services of Richland.
All of the construction going on in the Tri-Cities is partially to blame for the delays, Metzger said. Building crews were short-staffed, so certain things weren’t done at the time they should have been in the station.
“That’s the downside of a good economy, when things are going well in this area,” Metzger said. “Everything is building and there are (only) so many contractors out there.”
The inspector was supposed to check out the station on Wednesday, but went in a day early.
The building is structurally sound, Metzger said, but the inspection turned up sprinkler heads and electrical outlets in the wrong places.
He met with the builder, architect and inspector Wednesday to discuss how they were going to make the fixes and how much it would add to the project costs.
Metzger accepted the news that corrections had to be made, because he believes in getting it done right the first time, he said.
“I don’t want us, as a city department, to get any preferential treatment. I want to be at the same code as your house or whatever,” he said. “If it is not up to code, we are not going to accept it.”