The City of Turlock celebrated what Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson called “a monumental event” Friday afternoon, formally dedicating its new, long-awaited Public Safety Facility.
“It's a great afternoon to be in Turlock,” Mayor John Lazar said.
The new, $33 million Public Safety Facility is the largest public building in the City of Turlock's history. The new home of Turlock's Police Department and Fire Administration covers 4.13 acres at the corner of Olive Avenue and Broadway, adjacent to the Carnegie Arts Center.
The Public Safety Facility itself is 45 feet tall, and offers more than 59,000 square-feet of office space. A whopping 4.5 miles of walls, 292 doors, and 11,000 data cables sit within the building.
And, in the back, a new 180-foot tall communication tower stands, near an emergency generator that can power the entire facility. The compound also features a memorial to those who served in the armed forces.
The Public Safety Facility's story began more than eight years ago, when the Turlock Police Department's old home on Palm Street reached capacity.
But finding the funding for a building of the Public Safety Facility's size wasn't easy. It barely occurred, as the city issued redevelopment bonds just days before the California Legislature voted to close all redevelopment agencies statewide.
It was only the “tenacity and leadership” of Turlock City Councilmembers and staff that made the project possible, Jackson said.
More than 1,000 people were involved in building the Public Safety Facility, from architects to construction workers and city planners. Construction began March 22, 2011. The Turlock Police Department began to move in on Sept. 4.
Now complete, Lazar called the Public Safety Facility “A new foundation for Downtown Turlock,” in conjunction with the neighboring Carnegie Arts Center.
“The story of this building, our Public Safety Facility, has just begun,” Lazar said.
Though the building looks like it's from the 1950s, thanks to architecture meant to blend in with the Carnegie Arts Center, everything inside is state-of-the-art, Jackson said. Computerized security systems should make the site safer, while new climate control systems could save Turlock money while providing better heating and cooling.
The new building emphasizes the “Public” part of its name, Jackson said. The facility will host training sessions for the public, and forums to discuss neighborhood issues – an impossibility in the department's cramped former quarters.
“This building is here to serve your needs,” Jackson said. “You'll get a great return on your investment, I can promise you that.”
A crowd watched as an honor guard ceremonially raised the American Flag above the new facility, before Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder sang the National Anthem. A 21-gun salute later honored those policemen and firefighters lost in the line of duty.
The public didn't get a chance to see inside the new Public Safety Facility on Friday, save for a quick stop in a meeting room for cookies. But Turlockers will get the chance to take a full tour on Oct. 26, when the City of Turlock hosts a an open house.
“It's a great chance to see the inside of the building, and not just the outside,” said Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman.