PHOTO #1: An undeveloped tract at Main Street and Airline Road was chosen as the site of a new public safety headquarters based on its central location, space needs, citywide growth projections and compatibility of nearby development.
PHOTO #2: This map, taken from a July 5 presentation to the City Council, shows how public safety administration, storage and other facilities are decentralized across the city.
The City Council on July 5 approved the purchase of 32 acres at 2501 N. Main St. (across from Airline Road) for the construction of a new public safety headquarters that will house the Victoria Police Department, including dispatch services; Victoria Fire Department administration; and the City of Victoria Municipal Court.
These services are currently housed in facilities that are often inadequate, unsafe, decentralized and outdated. For example, the current Victoria Police Department headquarters was constructed in 1966, when the police department only had about 50 employees; today the department has 130 licensed officers and 38 civilian employees spread between the police department building, City Hall, the Victoria Mall and 700 Main Center.
A 2017-18 study by Dewberry Architects took stock of the City’s public safety needs and recommended that the City build a new public safety campus. However, that study did not include site options or provide direction on what to do with newly vacated spaces.
The City revisited the project in 2021 by hiring FGM Architects to review and update the 2018 study. Some of the needs that were identified include:
- Larger interview rooms for police investigations
- More break room areas and officer wellness opportunities
- Improved technology and security
- A central building serving multiple functions
- Adequate courtroom space to improve case flow and safety
- Sufficient, secure on-site parking for employees and the public
After exploring options, officials determined that the City’s public safety needs could only be adequately addressed with a new centralized building.
The new headquarters will also account for personnel growth. During the next 20 years, staff is expected to grow by about 60 police department employees (sworn officers and civilians), three fire department administration employees (not including new firefighter/EMTs, who will be housed at new or existing fire stations) and 12 court employees.
After looking at existing spaces that could potentially be used for the headquarters, city officials decided that the best way to meet space and location needs for the new facility was to build on undeveloped land. The property at 2501 N. Main St. was determined to be a suitable location based on its central location, space needs, citywide growth projections and compatibility of nearby development.
About 14 acres will be used for the public safety headquarters. The remaining land, which is mostly in the floodplain, could be used by Parks & Recreation
The design process is scheduled to begin in late 2022 pending approval as part of the budget for fiscal year 2023. Design is expected to be completed in fall 2023, with construction beginning in early 2024.