Lenexa leans toward building new public safety complex in more centralized location

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Lenexa city leaders are considering building a new public safety building on the current site on 87th Street Parkway or moving it to a more centralized location.

Location, cost and efficiencies within the Lenexa Police Department drove discussions this week, as city leaders consider whether to build a new public safety complex on the current site at 12500 W. 87th St. Parkway or relocate the facility to a more centralized location within the city, on city-owned property at Prairie Star Parkway and Britton Street.

Nothing official has been decided, but comments from city leaders indicate they show support for the more centralized location, which has more room for future expansion than the current site and will also be cheaper to build.

“Especially for safety issues, when you consider the number of miles and coverage, this department — and I’m only focusing right now on the police — would be much better served more central,” said Councilmember Tom Nolte. “I’m a little bit more open-minded.”

Chief Tom Hongslo said the centralized location would not affect response times to homes on the eastern side, which is an average of less than 5 minutes in emergencies.

Further analysis of Lenexa’s public safety operations and future needs indicate that the facility will require about 131,000 square feet of space by 2042, according to the study’s two consultants, PGAV Architects and McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie. The current facility, which includes the former city hall, is about 89,000 square feet.

Additionally, staffing at the public safety complex (including police, municipal court and information technology) is projected to grow by nearly 100 employees — from 174 to an estimate of 267 — as the city’s needs grow and evolve by 2042.

If the city decides to optimize the existing public safety complex by completely building anew on the same site, then it would have to be completed in multiple phases to avoid disruption of services. That drives up the cost by 8-10% and leaves “very limited capacity” for future expansion on site, according to the consultants.

Current cost estimates for building a new public safety complex on its current site on West 87th Street Parkway are $75 million to $88 million. Here’s a look at a concept for that plan:

On the other hand, building a new public safety complex at Prairie Star Parkway and Britton Street could be completed in a single phase, would have no impact on ongoing operations and ultimately cost less. There is also more space for future building expansion.

Current cost estimates for building a new public safety complex at Prairie Star Parkway and Britton Street are $70.5 million to $81.5 million. Here’s a look at this concept:

As far as building efficiencies, Dean Roberts of MWL Architects noted that a completely new building at the new location would probably be more efficient than a new building at the existing site, simply because it’s a clean slate. However, he noted, building on the existing site would still work.

To provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the public safety study and provide input on the options, the city is hosting an open house from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 in the training room at the Lenexa police station, 12500 W. 87th St. Parkway. Staff will also provide tours of the police station, highlighting efficiency and maintenance issues.

About the author

Leah Wankum
Leah Wankum

Hi there! I’m Leah Wankum, and I’m the Post’s Deputy Editor. I’m thrilled to call Johnson County home, and I’m deeply committed to the Post’s philosophy that an informed community is a strong community.

I’m a native of mid-Missouri, and attended high school in Jefferson City before going on to the University of Central Missouri, where I earned a master’s degree in mass communication.

Prior to joining the Post as a reporter in 2018, I was the editor of the Richmond News in Ray County, Missouri. I’ve also written for several publications, including the Sedalia Democrat and KC Magazine.