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Mid Rivers Newsmagazine gets hard hat tour of O’Fallon’s new Justice Center

The O’Fallon Justice Center is expected to open in September.

A $28 million project in O’Fallon that will provide a new police and courts headquarters is heading into the homestretch.

Construction of the O’Fallon Justice Center is at least 75 percent complete, Project Manager Chris Clercx said during a recent tour of the facility given to Mid Rivers Newsmagazine. The center is expected to open in September.

“It’s moving right along,” Clercx said.

Located along Bryan Road, south of Veterans Memorial Parkway, the two-story facility is around 95,000 square feet and will provide a significantly larger space for the city’s municipal court and police department. When completed, the Justice Center will be home to approximately 175 employees.

The city retained McCarthy last year as the construction manager on the project, which is financed by a bond issue and property tax increase approved by voters in April 2015. So far the building has come under budget with Clercx telling the City Council at its May 25 meeting that the project had a total funding surplus of $1.4 million.

The recent tour of the facility began in the building’s basement, which includes a garage that will fit upward of 45 to 50 police cars as well. Also within the basement is an indoor shooting range, slated to be installed next month. “This is one feature [the police department] is really excited about,” Clercx said.

The main entrance of facility will include a lobby with access to the courtroom, restrooms and the records area. Public parking for the facility will be located in front along Bryan Road. A secure parking lot for employees will be located behind the center.

Lockers inside the soon-to-be-complete O’Fallon Justice Center [Nathan Rubbelke photo]

Features on the first floor include a staff entrance, locker rooms, the building’s primary evidence center, a fitness room, briefing rooms, offices and storage space. Also included is the police detention center, which has 15 holding cells. The current police headquarters, located at city hall, has only four holding cells.

The office for Police Chief Roy Joachimstaler will be located on the facility’s second floor. That level also includes office space for detectives, higher command and the major case squad as well as multiple interview rooms.

The Justice Center also will include a new 911 call center, located on the second floor. The dispatch area will have its own kitchenette and bathrooms.

One of the “huge benefits” of the projects is a training room that will be able to seat up to 80 police officers. Adjacent to that room will be a firearms simulator, which will allow O’Fallon police officers to practice dealing with active shooter situations. The center also includes a staff break room that has access to an outdoor patio.

Crews are currently putting the finishing touches on the facility and furniture will arrive after July 4. Commissioning, a process to ensure the building’s major systems are functionally optimally, is in progress. So far, Clercx said there haven’t been any major issues throughout construction process.

“Everything has gone pretty smooth. I don’t have any issues with it,” he said.

Mayor Bill Hennessy said it has been exciting to drive down Bryan Road and see the building come together. He said it will provide the city’s police force with the tools needed to do its job.

“When they move in this fall, our officers will find everything they need for training, storing gear, meeting with supervisors or writing reports, and it will be in an ideal location for the officers to do what they need to do and get out on the streets and in our neighborhoods as quickly as possible,” Hennessy said.

The O’Fallon Justice Center is expected to open in September 2017. [Nathan Rubbelke photo]

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