ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Construction will begin soon on two new St. Louis County police precincts, one in North County and one in South County.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page made the announcement at a Wednesday morning news conference. The $27.6 million for the precincts comes from the Prop P public safety sales tax passed by voters in 2017.
Precinct 3, known as the Affton-Southwest Precinct, will move from its current leased space on 5030 Griffin Road, which was a temporary space needed after the previous precinct became unsafe with leaks and mold.
"The facility is too small, making it impossible to safely process and hold suspects," Page said during the news conference.
The new precinct will be built on the site of the former Sappington Garden Shop on 11520 Gravois Road, county officials said. It will be more than 15,000 square feet – three times the size of the current precinct.
Wright Construction Services will serve as general contractor, with site preparation to begin as early as Friday. Construction is set to begin by Oct. 3, with the precinct scheduled to open in early 2024.
Precinct 1, known as the North County Precinct, will move from its current leased building on 11815 Benham Road. The new precinct will be built on vacant land located at 11030 Dunn Road, near Christian Hospital. It will be about 17,300 square feet, more than double the size of its current location.
Raineri Construction is set to begin site preparation on Precinct 1 as early as Oct. 17, with construction to begin around Nov. 7. It is expected to open at the end of 2023.
"It's about time that were getting moving on these things … The current buildings are decades old, outdated and extremely crowded," said Matt Crecelius, with the St. Louis County Police Association.
He said it also boils down to morale, something that can be directly impacted by your working environment.
"Let's take the De Peres precinct, for example," He said. "They're in their 3rd building in five years. The first building they had to move out of in an emergency because of mold. The second building was a county building that was needed for something else, and now, one of our largest precincts is in a probably-1,000-square-foot building … and it's just not equipped right."
It's why the county police association is glad to see St. Louis County investing in those who protect and serve.
"We need to make sure they have the equipment they need to be successful, and part of that equipment is a police precinct where they can process suspects and to work together to solve the crimes that we deal with in our communities," Page said.
The police association also points to officers leaving the profession - both locally and nationally. So making an investment in them and in the spaces where they work, Crecelius feels, can help not only keep officers on the job but attract new ones as well.
"We're encouraged that both projects succeeded the goals that we met for minority and women-owned business participation, something we've been working hard on since I took office," Page said.
For Precinct 3, the MWBE participation will be 50.3%, with 14 minority and women-owned firms working on the project, county officials said.
For Precinct 1, participation will be just under 50%, at 49.7, including 15 minority and women-owned firms. The goal for both projects was 41%.
Watch the full press conference below: