CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) – The Cedar Falls police and fire departments are officially under one roof. The new $10.5 million Public Safety Building officially opened Monday.
The 32,000 square foot building sits in the same space as the old South Main fire station, near the corner Greenhill Road and South Main Street.
City leaders say Cedar Falls is growing on the southwest side of town. The new location allows them to respond faster to more areas in the community.
“The police are out on patrol but they do spend a lot of time returning to the building to write reports and for things, so centralizing us, getting us close to roads like Greenhill and 58 is really important and helpful,” Assistant Police Chief Craig Berte said.
The facility features joint meeting rooms, better office space, a workout area and a new crime lab. It will be open 24 hours a day, so the public can visit at any time to report a crime.
The goal is to make operations more efficient. Police and fire can work and train together in one central location.
“There’s a lot of efficiencies between fire and police. Shared spaces, shared training room, working together. We do a lot of shared training events so putting us under one roof and having a large parking lot to do them with is a great thing,” Berte said.
Fire Chief John Bostwick said he’s most excited about the new equipment.
“The apparatus bay has built-in facilities to decrease the amount of cancer-causing agents for the firefighters,” he said. “We’re excited about having new sleeping arrangements for the firefighters with all new updated fixtures in there.”
The city encourages their departments to spend less than their annual budget. Then, the money that’s left over is put into a capital improvement fund. That’s how the city paid for the new facility.
“The money was raised over several years, so it did not increase taxes or incur any bonds or any of that type of stuff so we actually paid for this thing cash,” Bostwick explained.
Before the Public Safety Building opened, police were working in the basement of City Hall. They had been doing that since the 60s. The city plans to re-purpose the office space.
The fire station at 18th and Main will stay open and staffed.