Students present designs for new police station

Published 8:29 pm Monday, April 24, 2017

Washington Police and Fire Services took a step forward Monday morning with plans for a new police station — and at no cost to the city.

Five architectural design teams, comprised of students at East Carolina University and Pitt Community College, presented the results of their three-month Capstone projects at the Washington Civic Center.

The design teams were given guidelines in advance, and presented options for one- to two-story structures in potential locations, such as the corner of Third and North Market streets and the corner of West Third and Bridge streets. Officials with Police and Fire Services met with the student teams at least once a week.

The presentation boards showed in-depth floor plans, with potential building materials, 3-D models and ways to mirror the architecture of other buildings in Washington.

“They saved us hundreds to thousands of dollars in my mind,” said Stacy Drakeford, director of Washington Police and Fire Services. “We don’t have to spend money on the front end coming up with this.”

Drakeford said there was a good crowd that came out to see the presentations; for the most part, it was standing room only.

VIEWER FRIENDLY: The student designers opted for 3-D models — physical and virtual — to help their police station designs come to life.

“The next step is to find a piece of property… and once you find a piece of property, then we’ll look, go back and look at these plans again, and see if we need to scale them down a bit,” he said. “They did a good job.”

The designs will then be taken to a professional firm for review, and those architects and designers will nail down a concrete plan, Drakeford said.

Plans for a new police station are a hot topic with the Washington City Council this year. In its February retreat, the City Council named it as one of its top priorities.

As of February, the city had narrowed it down to three possible locations for the new station: the former Dr Pepper plant site on West Third Street; the corner of North Market and Third streets; and the corner of East Fifth and North Bonner streets. The city made an offer on the West Third Street property earlier this year, but the property owner responded with a counter offer that was too high.

The City of Washington has placed money in a reserve fund for several years to help pay for projects, such as the police station. It has about $1.1 million to put toward the station.