City council approves purchase of land for public safety headquarters

Here is all you need to know on the development plans so far

VICTORIA, Texas – On July 5, the Victoria City Council approved the purchase of 32 acres at 2501 N. Main St., across from Airline Road, for the construction of a new public safety headquarters. This new headquarters will house the Victoria Police Department, including dispatch services; Victoria Fire Department administration and the City of Victoria Municipal Court.

Current facilities need improvement

Currently, these services are housed in facilities that are often inadequate, unsafe, decentralized and outdated. For example, the Victoria Police Department headquarters was constructed in 1966, when the department only had about 50 employees. As of today, the department has 130 licensed officers and 38 civilian employees. These employees are spread between the police department building, City Hall, the Victoria Mall and 700 Main Center.

A 2017-18 study by Dewberry Architects took in account the City’s public safety needs. The study recommended that the City build a new public safety campus. It did not, however, include site options nor provide direction on what to do with newly vacated spaces.

The City then reviewed the project in 2021 by hiring FGM Architects to look over and update the 2018 study.

071222 Pubsafety 2

The City Council presented this map on July 5, which shows how public safety administration, storage and other facilities are decentralized across the city.

FGM Architexts identified the following needs:

  • Larger interview rooms for police investigations
  • More break room areas and officer wellness opportunities
  • Improved technology and security
  • A central building serving multiple functions
  • Adequate courtroom space to improve case flow and safety
  • Sufficient, secure on-site parking for employees and the public

Officials explored options and determined a new centralized building was needed to appropriately address the City’s public safety needs.

The new headquarters will also contribute to personal growth

During the next 20 years, the City expects staff to grow by the following:

  • nearly 60 police department employees (sworn officers and civilians),
  • three fire department administration employees (not including new firefighters/EMTs, who will be housed at new or existing fire stations)
  • and 12 court employees.
071222 Pubsafety 1

The City chose an undeveloped tract at Main Street and Airline Road as the site of a new public safety headquarters based on its central location, space needs, citywide growth projections and compatibility of nearby development.

Choosing an appropriate location

The City looked at all potential existing spaces for the headquarters. City officials then decided that the best way to meet space and location needs for the new facility was to build on undeveloped land. Officials chose the property at 2501 N. Main St. based on its central location, space needs, citywide growth projections and compatibility of nearby development.

The City will use approximately 14 acres for the public safety headquarters. Parks & Recreation can then use the remaining land, which is mostly in the floodplain.

So far, City officials have scheduled the design process to begin in late 2022, pending approval as part of the budget for fiscal year 2023. They also expect a completed design in fall 2023, with construction beginning in early 2024.

The City of Victoria provided the above information and photos.