New city police station on its way from virtual to actual reality


A new city police station project has almost gone high-tech.

Members of the police department were able to view the new station during the design phase with virtual reality equipment and provide feedback before actual construction gets underway, Chief Shawn Heubusch said.

“When we completed the VR tour, we were able to ‘walk the halls’ and see some of the details we would have had to wait to see until walls were built,” Heubusch told The Batavian. “This allowed us to really choose whether a window or door was in the right place or whether the adjacency of rooms was right for everyday use. This will save time and money during the construction process because it will require fewer change orders further down the road.”

Being the second most publicly visited city facility — with City Hall being first — it’s important to get the building and details right, he said, and should save money from the myriad change orders typical of large construction projects.


Project Manager Ken Pearl presented the designs and timeline during this week’s City Council meeting. A 20,000 square foot building will occupy a front portion of the parking lot at Bank Street and Alva Place.

Total construction, engineering, equipment and material costs are estimated to be $13 million to $15 million, city manager Rachael Tabelski said.

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At least 115 public parking spaces should remain after construction, in addition to free public parking on surrounding streets, “which would more than adequately serve the needs of existing businesses on Washington, Alva and State streets,” she said.

This was a long time coming, given previous consultation studies, Task Force Committee meetings and discussions about how to proceed with the current station housed in a 167-year-old building. Known as the Historic Brisbane Mansion, the Main Street site was deemed unsuitable for police operations, and renovations were ruled out as too expensive.

“There have been no less than five studies done since 1991 to determine the future of the police department in Batavia, as well as a citizen task force commissioned to investigate possible locations,” Tabelski said. “The location of the new facility was identified by the task force in their top three site recommendations.”

The new facility will improve “the quality, efficiency, security and regulatory compliance functions of the department’s services and activities,” she said. It will also improve opportunities to meet community-oriented policing needs, and become a space to hold community events, including educational forums, police-assisted addiction initiatives, research post, citizen academy and focus groups.


“The new station and headquarters will be designed with accreditation standards in mind, including LEED and will be ADA compliant,” she said. “In short, the new station and headquarters will be a welcoming place for all people in our community.”

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LEED is a three-party green building certification program, and these buildings are, according to the US Green Building Council’s website, proven to save money, improve efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and create healthier places for people.

Heubusch highlighted the fact that the Brisbane Mansion had to function as a residence, and was renovated over the years to suit the needs of city government.

“However, the current facility does not meet regulatory requirements as well as ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements for a modern facility, not to mention the regulations surrounding a police station. The new police station will be better in every way; it will meet the needs of the department for adequate work spaces; interview rooms ; evidence storage; vehicle storage; victim and witness interview spaces; training spaces; community room; adequate lobby and registration facilities; adequate lockers and showers and secure parking for our staff and visitors,” Heubusch said. “In short, it will be a welcoming and professional facility, purpose-built to meet the needs of the Department and community for the next 50 years or more.”

Tabelski further expanded the doubts of the current station: it was built in 1855 and renovated for purposes other than housing since the city took ownership in 1918. Continuing to renovate the station as a modernized version to include the various functional and legal requirements “is. cost prohibitive, ” she said.

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City Council approved the new station in 2021 and approved Ashley McGraw Architects PDC of Syracuse in January 2022. Perlo said final figures won’t be nailed down until the project goes out to bid and council awards contracts for the work.

Construction documents must be finalized by February, with the project going out for bid in March. Contractors are expected in April, and construction will begin sometime between May and July, Tabelski said.

And now for the big question: how will this be paid for?
The new station would be financed by the city with a 30-year public improvement series bond, Tabelski said.

“The City will seek various state and federal grants to offset the cost,” she said.

For anyone who wants to view the renderings in person, they are available at City Hall, she said.newbpd4.jpg

Top Photo of the new city police station to be built at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place in downtown Batavia; view from the side of the building, in front at night and towards the back next to the parking lot. Images by Ashley McGraw Architects courtesy of the City of Batavia.


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