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Architect presents preliminary plans for Downers Grove facility updates

One option for renovating the Downers Grove Village Hall and police station includes building an addition to the police station.
One option for renovating the Downers Grove Village Hall and police station includes building an addition to the police station.

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Village Council held its first of several discussions with Williams Architects on detailed plans for renovations to its village hall and police station during the March 1 council meeting.

The council has identified replacing the maintenance systems and more efficiently using space in both buildings as a top priority.

It also has set a target budget of $16 million, which would allow the village to pay for the project with existing revenue sources instead of asking residents to pass a referendum to issue bonds.

Williams Architects President Mark Bushhouse presented three plans based on three options for completing the project the village laid out during a Jan. 19 meeting:

• Option 1 would be just replacing the maintenance equipment in the buildings, which would cost between $9.2 million and $11.6 million.

• Option 2 would have the same equipment replacement and add renovations to the village hall that include expanding the public areas and lobby and reconfiguring departments and meeting rooms to more efficiently use space. The cost would be between $10.9 million and $13.5 million.

• Option 3 would have all the previous renovations and include an addition on the east side of the police station, a corridor connecting the police station to the village hall and renovations inside the existing police station. The cost would be between $23.1 million and $27.1 million.

Bushhouse said option 2 did not include renovations to the police station because remodeling the station without building an addition would not address the station's space constraints.

However, the council unanimously said addressing the police station is its top priority.

"I'm not interested in remodeling the village hall and not solving the problems of the police station," commissioner Greg Hose said.

Mayor Martin Tully said he wants to see plans that would alleviate the Police Department's space constraints by using the existing space in the police station and village hall.

"We have an awful lot of space that is not being used," he said.

Studies have shown the village hall has more space than village departments need, but it is not clear which police functions could be moved into that space because police facilities need to be built to higher standards than normal buildings to withstand disaster situations.

While option 3 would address most of the village's facility concerns, the council did not like that the cost would far exceed its target budget.

The plan would create a central campus for the two buildings that would be the new main public entrance.

Commissioner Bill White said the idea of a central campus is emotionally pleasing, but the benefits would not outweigh the added costs, especially in the eyes of taxpayers.

Commissioner David Olsen said he would like to see if a smaller addition could be made that would still serve the village's needs.

"We need to be careful as not to be seen as building some massive thing that we don't need," he said.

The council will have more meetings to discuss facility options before making a decision in July or August.

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