The final touches are all that’s left before the Pasco Police Community Services Building can make its grand debut at the end of this month.
An open house is scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 27, after which some areas of the 38,000-square-foot building will be sealed off from public access, like the evidence rooms.
“I’m glad that I can finally say we’re going to be in there on a certain date. We’ve had so many dates come and go,” said Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger. “We’re really proud of it, and we’re glad to show people what we’ve done.”
Getting to this point has been a long and often frustrating wait for city and police officials.
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By the time the department is moved in, it will be eight months past the initial anticipated opening date.
In late November, when Metzger thought the end was near, an inspector found nearly 50 minor violations that needed to be corrected.
The latest setback is the series of snow and ice storms that have hit the Tri-Cities over the past month. Workers haven’t been able to install the landscaping because of the frozen ground, but Metzger said they decided to move forward with everything else and dress up the property once the weather cooperates.
“The main thing we really want is to let people see it and to thank the public for supporting us with the public safety sales tax. We can let them know what their money is going toward,” Metzger said.
The $8 million project has been covered by the sales tax approved by Franklin County voters in 2011. Total Site Services of Richland has been the contractor on the project.
The building, which is more than triple the size of the department’s current space, is designed to also service the community with a large meeting room available next to the lobby. The entrance features a secured vestibule for people who may feel their life is in danger and need immediate help, and the parking lot has “online purchases” spots for buyers or sellers who want to complete their transactions in public.
The multipurpose facility sits on 7.7 acres that used to be grassy ballfields between Nixon and Sylvester streets. Its address will remain the same as the adjacent City Hall, 525 N. Third Ave.
Metzger said they’ve already started the slow process of moving across the parking lot. The records department recently had “50 good-sized boxes” transferred to the new building. Other sections, like the evidence rooms, won’t move until after the open house.
The agency will have to close its doors to the public for a couple of days to complete the move and make sure everything is fully functional and secure. A date has not yet been set, but the temporary closure will not affect the law enforcement side of the operation.
The Feb. 27 ribbon-cutting ceremony will include the Tri-City Fraternal Order of Police Honor Guard and speeches from Mayor Matt Watkins, City Manager Dave Zabell and Metzger.
Then, people will be able to check out the building on their own, with officers and staff stationed throughout to answer questions.
“It’s a great project and a great building,” Metzer said. “We’re very happy with the layout and we’re very happy with the product that we got. It’s worth the wait.”