West Richland’s square ‘doughnut-shaped’ cop shop nears the starting line
West Richland expects to break ground on a new police station in January with the city’s police department tentatively set to move into its airy new building by the end of 2021.
Chief Ben Majetich updated the city council on the project’s status at its virtual meeting Oct. 20.
The 20,500-square-foot police station will be constructed at 7920 W. Van Giesen St. on a section of the former Tri-City Raceway. It will face Benton Fire District 4’s newest station, a move that transforms the western edge of town into an emergency services cluster.
The police station will not encroach on the actual raceway, Majetich said.
The city’s design-build team of Design West Architects and Chervenell Construction is finalizing the design and will shift to the construction phase in December, he said. The final design and price tag will be presented to the city’s elected leaders by mid-December.
TeanorHL, a Midwest firm with experience designing municipal police stations, is advising the team on the design.
The one-story building boasts glassy “storefront” details on three sides so that drivers approaching from any side will be greeted by a main façade. Soaring roof features give the impression of a two-story building.
A courtyard leaves a small hole at the center, giving the station a doughnut-like shape, Majetich joked.
The courtyard serves an important function. It allows designers to put windows in interior spaces to increase the amount of daylight coming into the squarish building. It also gives law enforcement a secured outdoor area for breaks and other business.
The back half of the building is secured with perimeter fencing and internal features.
The public entry includes space for administration, a lobby and a community room. The community room can be used for public gatherings as well as law enforcement raining.
A separate 2,700-square-foot building contains a garage that doubles as a training room and five indoor/outdoor kennels for dogs that are held up to 24 hours before being turned over to Tri-Cities Animal Control. The kennel is not intended to serve as an animal shelter.
The new police station will retire city’s outdated station at 3805 Van Giesen St., which at 3,000 square feet was far too small to support the needs of a fast-growing city.
Voters agreed. In 2019, the city’s voters approved an annual tax of about $42 per $100,000 in assessed value to support the $12.5 million bond needed to build the new facility. The approval rate was 61% of 3,473 ballots cast in the April 23 special election.
The city’s original plan to site the station near Bombing Range Road fell apart soon after the election over local opposition. That sent Mayor Brent Gerry on an urgent site-finding mission. He landed on the former raceway, closed since 2004 and owned by the Port of Kennewick.
The city paid $1.8 million for the property, a deal partly funded by West Richland’s share of the Benton County Rural Capital development fund, which is funded by an 0.09% sales tax rebate given to counties to support economic development.
The police station is occupying a small part of the 92-acre property. The balance is contemplated for future economic development.
The site is at Highway 224/Van Giesen Street and Keene Road, a few miles northwest of the city’s new municipal building on Beaumont Boulevard.