Grand Junction shows off new police, fire facilities at open house

Photos by GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Cmdr. Andy Martinez and Paula Bockman of the Grand Junction Police Department place a time capsule into the wall of the new Public Safety Building during a dedication ceremony Saturday. BELOW: Grand Junction Fire Department Capt. Clark Thompson, second from left, holds one hose as Mayor Bill Pitts, third from left, holds the other after they uncoupled the water line in a traditional ceremony for the dedication of the newly remodeled Fire Station 1 on Saturday. The completion of the new Public Safety Building, Fire Station 1 and a new 911 center was celebrated Saturday with an open house.

Anyone driving along Ute Avenue Saturday morning caught a rare sight: Nearly 200 people of all ages gathered in the parking lot of a Grand Junction Police Department and 911 Regional Communication Center. On purpose. And no crimes had been committed.

The recently completed public safety facilities of the Police Department, Grand Junction Fire Department Fire Station No. 1 and the 911 dispatch center were officially opened to the public Saturday, giving citizens a peek inside the $32.7 million project near the corner of Sixth Street and Ute Avenue.

Locals seldom get the opportunity to take a self-guided tour through both a fire house and police department, so the moment was not lost on City Manager Rich Englehart, who delivered the opening statements of Saturday’s ceremony.

“We hope this will be your one, and only, time in certain parts of this building,” he said with a laugh.

Police Chief John Camper also addressed the crowd and expressed his department’s excitement for the new facility, which is more than 58,000 square feet in size, approximately 27,000 square feet larger than the previous building.

Saturday’s dedication was commemorated with a time capsule to be opened in 2062. Inside were badges, newspaper articles and photographs detailing what life was like as an officer in 2012.

Fire Chief Ken Watkins also thanked the audience for the safety and technological upgrades and renovation Fire Station No. 1 received as part of the project.

Roy Blythe, of the architectural firm Blythe Group + co., told the crowd about the energy efficiency and safety features of both buildings, and about how nearly 80 percent of the architectural work was completed with local workers.

“It’s a state-of-the-art facility,” Blythe said. “It will be here for a long, long time.”

Fire administration offices and a renovation of Fire Station No. 2 at the intersection of 28 1/4 and Patterson roads are slated to be completed next year and are part of the $32.7 million project paid for with city funds through the issuance of certificates of participation.


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