Battle Creek police and fire departments reveal plan for facility repairs

Posted at 9:56 PM, Oct 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-22 21:56:10-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The city’s police and fire departments unveiled their plan to replace their facilities, and they’re hosting public tours to give citizens an inside look at how much the repairs are needed.

Early this year, Kramer & Associates Group and MSA Architects performed a study of the fire department’s seven stations in Battle Creek and found the city’s current facilities limit their capabilities.

Battle Creek Police told FOX 17 how sewage drips through ceiling tiles and runs down the walls. A tour also revealed their bathrooms are being used for fingerprints and storage for lack of space.

Consultants found the Battle Creek Police station is long overdue for an update. Built in the 1970s, the staff of 140 is working in a building designed for only 60, said Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker.

“[The study] was completed six months ago and realized we need about twice the size of what we have right now,” said Blocker.

Chief Blocker said simply renovating the building would  not be cost effective. He pointed out the aesthetics of the facility were less than pleasing, and the ventilation system in the lab would cost more than $90,000 to replace.  So the plan is to build a new facility across Patterson Way in the current department parking lot.

“We realize that if we’re gonna do this, this is the time to do that,” said Blocker.

Furthermore, the city’s consultants planned three different options for Battle Creek’s Fire Department: Consolidation, relocation, or rebuilding altogether.

“At the same time, we want to emphasize, with our fire personnel in some cases they’re operating out of facilities that are 45 years old, and in two of the facilities, they’re over 100 years old,” said Blocker. “They want about a four-minute response time from every station throughout the entire footprint of the city of Battle Creek.

The price tag and how these plans will be paid for are still in the works right now. Virtual tours of at least some of these facilities will be available online in the near future.

Meanwhile, the city is hosting tours for the public:

  • Thursday, Oct. 22, 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 23, 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 12 to 2 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 30, 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m.

City partners Beacon Community and Project 20/20 will also host community conversations to collect input on future fire and police facilities. Input from the conversations and from other sources will be used by fire, police and other city officials to help inform decisions related to the future of fire and police facilities.

  • Thursday, Nov. 5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Lakeview Middle School library, 300 S. 28th St.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14, 10 a.m. to noon, Battle Creek Department of Public Works, 150 S. Kendall St.
  • Monday, Nov. 16, , 6 to 8 p.m., Community Action, 110 Green St.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 9 to 11 a.m., Kool Family Community Center, 200 W. Michigan Ave.

Information related to this process will be linked from the city’s website under “Current topics.” An online survey will be made available at the beginning of November for those who don’t attend the community conversations in person.