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Construction crews and trucks are buzzing around one of the most important investments in the Village’s history. A new, 30,000 square foot Public Safety Center will include a properly-sized police station, meeting and training rooms and a veterans plaza. The project, designed by Kluber Architects + Engineers with construction management by Lamp Incorporated, involved in-depth planning since summer 2022. It included visits to other police stations by Village Trustees and staff, plus input from all members of the South Elgin Police Department.  

You can be proud of how our South Elgin police officers handle the demands of modern policing. They’re a hard-working and professional crew. They follow the best-practice protocols of community-based policing. They face mental and physical challenges on a regular basis. They perform split-second decisions using gear and technology once reserved for science fiction. They engage in ongoing and rigorous training. And one, five and ten years from now, all of those demands will only increase. 

Unfortunately, the current police station can not meet the task. Along with insufficient training space and evidence storage, the station's inefficient floor plan makes transporting detainees difficult. The Sally Port - intended for processing detainees - is undersized and partially used for storage. Social Workers have no private offices to meet with victims. Locker rooms do not exist. And SEPD has grown 35% since moving into the current police station. The facility has simply outlived its usefulness. 

During a November 14, 2022 meeting, the Village of South Elgin Board of Trustees approved proceeding with plans to build a new South Elgin Police station to better serve the community for decades to come. The facility will remain located in the Village Center at the southeast corner of LaFox (Route 31) and State Street and will include multi-purpose training and meeting rooms for Board Meetings, regional police training, community gatherings and more.

Initial details about the plans appeared in the Village Light Winter 2022-23 issue, and are available for review here.

Project Financials: Good news and Even Better News
The $20 million project will require just $7 million in financing, an enviable position noted by Village Trustee, Greg Lieser. “Other communities in the area have had to borrow 100% of their funds for a new police station,” he said. “Some have even gone to referendum to pay for it.”
   
In contrast, the Village Board planned and saved funds to minimize risk. As Village Trustee Mike Kolodziej pointed out, “We've been able to accomplish the new police station, the Public Works building, road projects and vast park improvement projects without raising any taxes on our constituents. Not a penny.”
The Village received 132 sealed bids representing 20 different building trades, and the winning bidders were nearly all local contractors owned and operated in South Elgin, Elgin and other nearby communities. Village Administrator Steve Super, indicated this is excellent news. “When the money goes to local businesses, they spend it at local restaurants, grocery stores and retailers,” he said. “In many cases, their employees live here too. It's a win-win.” It's actually a win-win-win, because the bids came in nearly $1 million below estimates!

Project Necessity: Meeting Current and Long-Term Needs
Chief of Police Jerry Krawczyk said the current South Elgin Police station outlived its usefulness long ago. “The space was filled to capacity when it opened in 1997 and staffing has  grown 30% since then. We currently have social workers assisting victims in shared office spaces,” Krawczyk said. The new station will provide private spaces for those conversations. A modern facility will also allow vast operational improvements not currently available: efficient workspaces, a training center, an Emergency Operations Command Center, designated space for adjudication hearings, and the ability to host/share space with other law enforcement agencies for regional training. 
For the first time, SEPD officers will have sufficient locker rooms, break areas and workout facilities. With these amenities nearly universal at suburban Chicago police stations, a functional and efficient workspace becomes even more important to continue recruiting top-notch new officers to join South Elgin’s police department. 

Project Benefits: Beyond the Police Station
The Public Safety Center will include an outdoor Veterans Plaza. Inside, the multi-use training and meeting space will allow Village Board meetings to take place with enough room for every interested person to attend. “The current Board Room is vastly undersized,” Village President Steve Ward said. “Anytime we have a  recognition ceremony, we have people waiting in the hallway unable to see or hear the proceedings.” The new space will include sound equipment, large monitors and the most current technology available for multi-media presentations and discussions. The training/meeting space will be available for use by other public safety agencies, local businesses and organizations. It will be busy all the time! 

The police station relocation will allow our Parks & Recreation Department to move into Village Hall. Demolition of the existing Annex building will provide more open riverfront. The Footprints in Time monument will be moved to storage during construction and rebuilt at the same location adjacent to State Street and LaFox Road.
The Village anticipates the new Public Safety Center will open late 2024/early 2025. For ongoing updates and information, please continue to visit this page at: southelgin.com/PublicSafetyCenter



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