All options of a space study on the sheriff’s operations center in Palm Coast call for a building far larger and far more expensive than the county can afford or will plan on.
The six options, prepared for Flagler County government by the Center for Public Safety in Winter Park, project a building that ranges in size from 65,000 square feet to 81,000 square feet, at costs that range from $30.4 million to $35.6 million. Some of the options allow for a “shell” building that would be built out only as needed.
The county is not prepared to build a structure larger than 50,000 square feet, at a cost of $15 million at most, County Administrator Jerry Cameron said today. (The standard cost the county has ascribed to the project has ranged between $12 and $15 million.) Cameron distributed the space study to county commissioners on Monday. The full study appears below.
The sheriff’s former operations center in Bunnell, abandoned a year and a half ago, was a bit over 35,000 square feet. The sheriff also has current space at a Palm Coast Precinct office on Old Kings Road and at the county airport.
“That’s built to contemplate being serviceable for out to 25 or 30 years,” Cameron said of the space study. “That would be nice if we could do it. We’re not going to be able to spend that kind of money at this point particularly since I’ve got to look ahead to the Bunnell district office also. So we will be looking at considerably less square footage than that. I’m looking at a cost of $300 a square foot and not $325. We anticipate we’ll be able to get it within our budgetary goals.”
The study was based on questionnaires distributed to sheriff’s personnel, plus analysis from the Center for Public Safety, whose staff conducted “intensive and interactive interviews with command staff and members of the Sheriff’s Office representing all areas and levels of service throughout the county,” in the words of Stockton Reeves, the center’s executive director, in his cover letter.
“We then applied this information to proprietary spatial standards to determine current need in year 2020 would equate to 76,765 square feet with an additional 4,828 square feet to meet additional demand for space in future years,” Reeves said. “The projection for the department to meet its space needs until the year 2030 would be a total of 81,593 square feet.”
The space study calls for built-out space to be built for $325 per square foot. Shell space would be built for less. The options break down as follows:
Option A: 81,000 square feet, $35.6 million.
Option A2: 69,000 square feet of built-out space and 17,400 square feet of sell space for future expansion, $32.4 million.
Option B: 79,000 square feet, $34.5 million.
Option B2: 68,000 square feet of built out space and 11,000 square feet of shell space, $32.5 million.
Option C: 72,000 square feet, $31.7 million.
Option C2: 65,000 square feet of built-out space, 7,000 square feet of shell space, $30.4 million.
“The upper limit for me would be about $15 million,” Cameron said. “That one contemplates in excess of $25 million, so we’re not going to be able to go there. We can reserve a footprint for future expansion but we can’t do that at this point.”
Commissioners did not discuss the study at Monday’s commission meeting. But Cameron met with Sheriff Rick Staly and members of his staff on Monday to discuss it. “And of course the sheriff in an ideal world would certainly like to have what was laid out in the space need study, but he’s a realist too, he understands we have limitations, so both of us want the same goal, to get as much as we can we can get without overdoing it,” Cameron said. (Staly could not be reached before this article initially published.)
The next step is the design of the building within the scope of the county’s budget capabilities. That will take six months, with groundbreaking expected in the spring of 2020.
So what the building will look like and what space will be allocated to what needs will not be known until the design is completed. “But we will tell them they’re going to have to work with the Sheriff’s Office and county administration to get the concepts of that space study and home them down to the size we can deal with, which is probably going to be about 50,000 square feet,” Cameron said. That would combine all the spaces the sheriff was or is using in different places now, plus 10 percent for expansion.