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Ballwin launches two major projects

The city of Ballwin has taken initial steps that could lead to a major renovation, or the replacement, of one of its buildings and to completion of the second phase of upgrades and improvements at a city park.

Information for decision-making on renovating or replacing the city’s police station will come from a needs assessment study recently approved by the Ballwin Board of Aldermen. JEMA, a St. Louis planning, architecture and design firm, will handle the project.

The improvements are envisioned at Ferris Park near the southern border of the city off New Ballwin Road. According to a recommendation from Chris Conway, director of parks and recreation, the city will apply to the Municipal Park Grant Commission for a $525,000 award to help pay for Phase 2 upgrades initially outlined in a 2012 report.

Phase 1 work at the park included a new playground and pavilion completed in 2014.

Ballwin Police building in Vlasis Park
Ballwin Police building in Vlasis Park

The JEMA study will add more details and other specifics to shortcomings the current police station is known to have and will evaluate alternatives for addressing them. Built in 1970 to house all city departments, the building has undergone several remodeling and expansion projects, the most recent in 1999 when the property at Manchester Road and Seven Trails Drive was acquired to serve as Ballwin’s government center.

Cited in a police department memo to city officials and aldermen were the following concerns about the building’s shortcomings:

  • A sump pit and water pipes are above the city’s information technology room where equipment serves not just the police department but other functions as well.
  • The holdover area doesn’t meet current prisoner housing standards. Cells do not minimize the potential for prisoner to harm themselves and a metal detector and restraint chair occupy the middle of the area. Toilets and shower can’t be controlled remotely if a prisoner attempts to flood a cell or shower area.
  • HVAC systems don’t provide proper heating and cooling and aren’t zoned to maximize energy efficiency. The armory and evidence processing lab are unable to ventilate fumes.
  • The structure doesn’t meet current engineering codes and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The building also was not designed to minimize tornado or earthquake damage.

In its request for qualifications, the city sent out 15 packets to interested firms, received five responses and interviewed three before selecting JEMA, which will head a team of companies working on the project.

JEMA’s charge will be $22,500, plus a maximum of $1,500 for reimbursable expenses. The work is expected to take about 13 weeks and will include a cost/benefit analysis of remodeling versus building a new structure.

The planned Ferris Park improvements are in line with the city’s recently completed parks master plan and include an interior park trail system, additional parking, trail access from the parking lot to the playground and a fitness station. 

In addition to the park commission grant, Ballwin anticipates spending an estimated $225,000 on the Phase 2 upgrades.

On another related parks department project, aldermen approved a $17,050 contract with Byrne & Jones of St. Louis to resurface and restripe the multipurpose court in New Ballwin Park to make the area usable for pickleball as well as basketball. The company submitted the lower of two bids received for the work.

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