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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New Grinnell Public Safety Building opens

On Tuesday Jan. 19 the brand new Grinnell Public Safety Building opened at 1020 Spring St. replacing the previous location which was over 50 years old. The facility, which now houses both the Grinnell Police and Fire Departments, was funded by a Local Option Sales Tax that passed in 2006. The new Drake Library as well as the Aquatic Center were also partly funded by the tax.

The building’s 31,000 square feet feature many improvements from previous headquarters including a better integration of technology, increased safety and increased ease of access to equipment. Even with the extra space, some improvements will disperse the police force as policemen will now be able to file reports from their cars instead of having to come into the office.

“Our men are able to respond to calls the quickest when they are already out in their cars,” Police Chief Jody Matherly said in a phone interview. “So keeping them from having to come into the office frequently is a big advantage.”

From a safety standpoint, the building does a much better job of keeping those jailed in the facility and civilians separate than does the previous Department Headquarters.

Additionally, volunteer firefighters, who would often sleep in the trucks, now have bunk rooms to sleep in during their overnight shifts. Designers gave the fire fighters adequate space to store the squad’s seven trucks in the Apparatus Bay, visible from West Street, while still having access each one without any maneuvering. They even have room to spare.

“The other night when it snowed we were able to even pull the [police] patrol cars into the bay so they wouldn’t get covered with frost and snow,” Fire Chief Dan Sicard said in a phone interview.

Mayor of Grinnell Gordon R. Canfield is pleased with both the efficiency with which the construction took place¬—it was completed on time and within its budget—and with the environmental standards it followed as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines were followed. Some of this is due to the fact that instead of building a new structure, the old Fareway Supermarket building was altered.

“By re-using an existing structure and only adding the fire truck bay, use of time, money and use of new materials was greatly reduced. It employs the latest ground-source geothermal heating and cooling systems and energy efficient lighting.” Canfield wrote in an e-mail. Grinnell area residents can be justly proud of their new Grinnell Public Safety Building… it is a good example of green building techniques being used for a municipal facility expected to serve for well into the future.”

There will be a grand opening ceremony at a yet to be determined date. It will feature bag pipes, speeches and tours of the office.

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