The Regina Police Service has found a new home in the former Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation building, right across the street from the current police headquarters.
On Friday, city manager Chris Holden and Regina police Chief Evan Bray announced the city intends to buy the building and two neighbouring parking lots from the provincial government — a purchase the government approved at a cost of $16.25 million.
"This is such an unexpected opportunity," Holden said, explaining it is a "cost-effective solution" to expanding the police service's headquarters, which has been on the books for a while due to the service's lack of space.
The current headquarters building, which will remain in use, is home to 575 sworn and civilian personnel.
Besides buying and turning the former STC depot in a police station, a further $21 million is said to be required to upgrade and improve the former STC facility to the standards of the previous headquarters, and to upgrade the current police HQ.
In total, the city will pay a little more than $37 million.
STC depot only site seriously considered
Holden said the former depot was the only site seriously considered for the police HQ expansion.
"We looked at the opportunity to go out to [a request for proposals]," he said.
"We didn't look at a lot of other properties. I mean, this doesn't make sense, really, to look for solutions when we have an opportunity that allows us to really capitalize on the existing … headquarters."
Police hope to start moving into the building by 2019.
Holden said the expansion plan costs substantially less than what it would cost to build a brand new headquarters.
What exactly the new, expanded headquarters will look like is not known yet, Bray said. However, he envisions the two buildings somehow being connected.
Bray said having a second building next to its existing home will allow the service to centralize many of its core units currently spread out in buildings across the city, which could reduce leasing costs.
Chief doesn't know if all units will fit
Police say at least 10 units are operating outside the current HQ. However, Bray — who welcomes the move — doesn't know if all of the units will fit in the two buildings.
"Our space needs might exceed that a little bit," pointing to the possibility of building a third addition on the police service's property if required.
Holden said it will be left up to the city's facilities management staff to maximize the space of the two buildings.
"It's a real opportunity. It's not something that [just] because it was affordable, we moved in that direction. It really has to fit the needs of the police service and we believe that it will, now and into the future," Holden said.
"And if we have to add an additional building we will have space on the footprint of both properties to do that."
Currently, a Robin's Donuts operates out of the now-shuttered STC depot.
Bray said whether or not that shop will stay put has yet to be decided.
City council will vote on the STC purchase when it meets Nov. 27. Ward 6 Coun. Joel Murray says the $37 million will be taken from one of the city's reserves.