City of Farmington to acquire former Hilcorp building
Will be the new location of the Farmington Police Department
Farmington, N.M. - Farmington is getting a new police station in the near future. The announcement comes following a unanimous vote during a special Farmington City Council session on June 3 to purchase 7.62 acres of property located at 5750 Bloomfield Hwy to be the new police station. The property was formerly occupied by Hilcorp San Juan, L.P.
The purchase has been over a decade in the making, looking at a number of potential buildings throughout the years and the possibility of a new build. Roughly 10 years ago, there were discussions about relocating the police station to Andrea Drive. However, a feasibility study uncovered soil issues that would have created an expensive challenge in building a facility of that size in the area.
The current police station, located at 900 Municipal Dr., was built in the 1950s. Over the years, it’s had several additions with significant improvements made in 1961, 1962, 1973 and 2003 to meet the needs of an increased number of police employees and services.
As community needs continue to grow, so has the need for a bigger police station. Over the last eight years, the current station has undergone several modifications to evolve with continued growth demands. However, the modifications aren’t enough to keep up with current needs and can’t adequately address the issues of the aging building.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe explained, “From an operational and leadership standpoint, we’ve reached our limit with this building and continuing to put a Band-aid on its wounds isn’t in the best interest of the taxpayers. Farmington is growing, and its police department must grow with it for the health and safety of our residents and visitors.”
The new location will allow for increased communication and cooperation between divisions as they’ll be located in one building. Currently, the patrol division is in a separate building from detectives and other specialty units, as are code compliance and animal control.
“FPD is grateful to the City Council, Mayor Duckett and City Manager Mayes for purchasing this building as it is a huge milestone toward upgrading our facilities. The move to this location will allow the entire department to be located in the same building for the first time in almost 15 years, the benefits of which we know will directly impact the citizens we serve,” said Chief Hebbe.
The central location will allow citizens easy access from the main thoroughfares of US 64 and Browning Parkway. In addition, the building is in close proximity to the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.
The City will be acquiring the property, which includes a total of 50,000 square feet of furnished building space, for $3 million. The property is being sold under market value thanks to the generosity of Hilcorp. The building will require an additional $2 to $3 million in alterations to construct the unique facilities needed at a police station, such as an evidence room, bulletproof glass, armory and more.
The cost to build a police station on a new piece of land is estimated at $60 million. Purchasing the former Hilcorp property is a significant savings for the taxpayer.
Mayor Nate Duckett voiced his support in Friday’s session and emphasized that purchasing the property is an efficient use of tax dollars. “There’s no way in my opinion that we were going to be able to fund any construction of a new facility that would fit what we would need for the next 30 years.”
He further explained that it’s an incredible opportunity to be able to purchase a property for less than market value and one that comes equipped with furnishings from the previous owners.
Councilor Linda Rodgers said, “I’m excited at the opportunity to provide such a nice facility for our police department. Our building is 60, 70 years old and I think it’s really going to help with the management and efficiency of the department, so I’m really excited about it.”
City Manager Rob Mayes pointed out that a new police station improves the image of our community and shows our commitment to public safety. This will potentially help with recruiting efforts. He further highlighted the importance of officers’ morale, which affects retention, and explained that investing in a new police station sends the message that officers are valued and are valuable to the community.
Farmington City Councilor Janis Jakino echoed the sentiment of the room, “The magnitude of this moment is a lot to take in, it’s a lot to absorb, the benefit that this could provide to our community. And I hope it’s not lost on anyone that in spite of recent trends oil and gas is still continuing to provide, indirectly, to the safety and health of our community through this transaction.”
Councilors Jeanine Bingham-Kelly and Sean Sharer issued the following statements,
“Weighing out the costs and benefits of the various options, the choice we made to purchase this building will far exceed the positive impact we were initially looking for,” Councilor Bingham-Kelly.
“Discussions about a new police department have been taking place for over a decade. Throughout the years, city leaders have examined various potential options for a new station with none of them panning out — until now. This is a momentous occasion for all of Farmington and our neighboring cities! The large property will provide the department with the space needed to grow with our community for years to come,” Councilor Sharer.
Transition to the new location will take some time as the project must start with a space analysis before moving to an engineering design.