City approves contract for GFPD evidence addition

City Commissioners voted unanimously during their Feb. 21 meeting to approve a contract with BSpark Architecture for the design of a new police evidence building.

The contract is for $455,597.50 using American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The Great Falls Police Department has been evaluating options to increase the space for evidence and vehicle processing for a few years and proposed the project for consideration using the city’s ARPA funds.

Commissioners identified the facility as a top tier project during their April 5, 2022 meeting.

The total project is an estimated $4.5 million.

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The evidence storage and processing space is nearly overrun and they expect to run completely out of space within the next two years, according to city staff.

Initially, staff considered a remodel to the existing GFPD space, but determined that wouldn’t support the anticipated volume of evidence. Staff also determined that constructing a new stand-alone facility would be cost prohibitive.

BSpark proposed a conceptual design that consists of a two-story addition on the south side of the building, with bays for vehicle processing.

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“This option would provide adequate storage space to satisfy the evidence retention needs for the next 10-15 years, as well as bring our vehicle processing back onsite to alleviate any security concerns and support efficiency in processing. City staff determined this option to be the most cost effective and prudent solution to provide the GFPD with operational efficiencies and adequate storage for the next decade and beyond,” according to staff.

Staff presented the option to commissioners during their Nov. 1, 2022 work session and “after receiving positive feedback from the commission, city staff moved forward with the request for proposal process for a comprehensive design, bidding phase, and construction phase services package,” according to staff.

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During the Fe. 21 meeting, Commissioner Rick Tryon said, “this is a very good step. We’ve been behind for about 40 years now so hopefully we can catch up.”

There was no public comment on the contract during the meeting.

The city only received the proposal from BSpark after posting the RFP and reaching out to other local architecture firms.

BSpark has teamed with TD&H and Morrison Maierle to perform geotechnical, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering on the project.