New combined law enforcement building in Steamboat opens to public Monday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After more than a year of construction, the combined law enforcement facility on the west side of town is set to open to the public Monday, June 24.
The $19.3 million building, a joint project between the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and the Steamboat Springs Police Department, allowed both the city and county to save money on construction costs and promote collaboration between the two agencies.
The collaborative nature of the project has required a lot of logistical work, according to Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins. Not unlike roommates divvying up household chores, the two agencies have split costs for building and maintaining the facility.
The city footed about 60% of the construction costs, and the county paid the remaining 40%. A $1 million state grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs also helped fund construction. Signed agreements between the two agencies allocate coverage of future expenses, which range from electrical bills to toilet paper.
For example, the city will pay for plowing services in the winter, according to Christensen, while the county covers mowing costs in the spring and summer.
He and Wiggins have spent much of the last year designing the building and trying to make it a more welcoming place for the public to visit. Sunlight shone through large windows throughout the facility during a tour on Thursday. Sleek, cylindrical lights hung from an exposed ceiling.
What: Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new combined law enforcement building
When: 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 19
Where: 2025 Shield Drive
Perhaps most importantly, the building is stout. Cement and rebar fortify the walls, which Christensen said are built to withstand natural disasters, from tornadoes to flooding to Steamboat’s heavy snowpack.
The two law enforcement officials hope the joint facility will streamline operations and reduce confusion among visitors. Wiggins said it is not uncommon for people to come to the Sheriff’s Office to get help with an incident that occurred within the Police Department’s jurisdiction, and vice versa.
According to Christensen, about 24,000 people visit the two agencies each year. With that in mind, he wanted to create a more spacious lobby area to accommodate visitors. A drop-off box is available there for people to dispose of unneeded or expired medications.
An adjoining fingerprinting room will offer background check services to people and businesses. The space doubles as a safe room where citizens can access a secure refuge if they are in danger.
The building also serves as headquarters for Routt County Communications.
Local groups will be able to reserve a meeting room on the first floor of the facility, which will also be used for law enforcement trainings and conferences.
The public will not have access to the rest of the building — unless they come in for an interrogation — but some of the features are worth a mention.
Wiggins’ favorite space is a large workout room. Both agencies have been promoting physical exercise to keep their employees healthy and have established wellness programs as part of that initiative.
Next to the workout room shines a neon sign made by Steamboat Police Sgt. Evan Noble, who has made a hobby out of fixing old signs.
One side reads “Routt County Sheriff’s Office” and the other reads, “Steamboat Springs Police Department” in red lettering.
On the second floor, Routt County investigators and Steamboat detectives share an office space. Christensen said the two agencies often rely on one another to complete investigations, so the close quarters will allow them to communicate more efficiently.
Wiggins and Christensen will be within shouting distance of one another, with adjoining offices that overlook Mount Werner to the west. With the move-in mostly complete, they look forward to spending less time designing and organizing the space, and more time working inside it.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the facility is scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 19. Immediately following the opening ceremony, the community will be able to take part in guided tours of the facility from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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