The Sand Creek Division's substation is "just busting at the seams," said Colorado Springs Police Commander Scott Whittington.
That's why $13.8 million has been budgeted for a new facility, he said.
"This building is too small to serve the Sand Creek area," Whittington said, standing in the current substation, located at 4125 Center Park Drive, during a community open house Tuesday.
A plot of land has been purchased just blocks away from the current substation, in the area of Academy Park Loop and Inverness Drive.
The city purchased 8.69 acres for $760,000, and the seller donated an additional 1.88 acres - valued at $73,703 by the El Paso County Assessor's Office - for the right-of-way extension to Inverness Drive, police said.
The $13.8 million budget doesn't include the cost of the land.
"There have been talks about it for several years - that's why the land was purchased first in anticipation for that, and then getting funding for the building came later," Whittington said. "We're really excited."
The project is expected to break ground in late summer or early fall 2017, said architect Edward Bledowski, who's with DLR Group. Early this summer, Bledowski said, contractors will begin bidding on the project. Construction is expected to take about 16 months.
The current facility opened in 1989, tied with the Falcon Division as the oldest of the four substations, Whittington said. But Falcon has slightly more than half the number of officers that Sand Creek has, he added.
"This building, just because of the sheer number of people, just gets beat up and used," Whittington said. More people work out of the Sand Creek substation than at any of the other three substations.
And a lot has changed in the nearly 30 years since the Sand Creek substation was built.
The current substation has three holding cells, but federal laws have changed, requiring "sight and sound" separation between juveniles and adults and males and females. The new building will feature four sets of three cells.
"So, the way we have three cells right now, if we bring one male, put him in a holding cell, then we arrest a juvenile or a female, we cannot put them in the holding cells here because of that new law," Whittington said. "The Sand Creek substation brings more prisoners in than any other division in the city, and having those three cells really hampers what we're able to do."
Making do with available space has become increasingly difficult, he said.
A storage room has been converted into a locker room - "we have 30 to 35 officers too many to fit in the locker room that came with the building," he said - and all conference rooms have been converted into office space.
The new facility would make Sand Creek the largest substation in the city and "will give us that room not only to house everybody here comfortably, but to expand over the next 15 to 20 years," Whittington said.
It's planned to be about 38,000 square feet, police said in a news release. That's more than double the size of the current substation, Bledowski said. There will be more parking, including more than triple the number of spaces for the community. New features will hopefully make officers' lives easier, such as larger lockers and more parking spaces for their personal cars.
The fate of the current substation is unclear, Whittington said, although he added, "We'll probably sell it."
In addition to increasing the facility's size, "the other thing we're trying to do is foster officer wellness," Bledowski said, citing "animosity and tension" that make "the policeman's job very stressful and difficult."
"We're trying to create an environment with a sense of safety, a sense of home, a sense of pleasant daylight and just good surroundings ... to give them a building that really allows them to feel good about what they're doing, about who they are and what their job is."
Note: This article was updated March 3 to include the price of the land purchased for the new substation.
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198