The City of Auburn’s new Public Safety Building opened to the public at the beginning of the month. It is located next door to the building which it replaces.
“The space [in the old building] was not appropriate, was outdated … offices were being shared by four or five people,” said Public Safety Director Paul Register. “There was not enough space for all the things going on in that building.”
The previous building did not have adequate space for private meetings with citizens, Register said. City Council, Planning Commission, and the municipal court all shared the same chamber. According to the City’s press release, the original building was built in 1976 and expansions to the building were deemed cost-ineffective for future needs.
“More than anything, [the new building] has a lot more convenience for the public,” Register said. “For example, if a citizen wants to speak to a police officer about a private matter, there are more private meeting spaces for that to take place.”
Meetings throughout the building will have less time constraints, as different divisions have their own dedicated meeting spaces, Register said. Police and fire departments now have spaces for physical training that was not available in the previous building.
People representing different services within the building were planning the new building for two years in advance, Register said. Each department was involved with planning for their respective spaces, so they all benefitted in moving.
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Register hopes the community will take pride in their City’s building and the services it offers. The building will also serve as a recruiting tool to attract potential firefighters, police officers and other City employees.
The Public Safety Administration has also added emergency management to their Emergency Communications division, Register said. Emergency management has helped with the City’s COVID-19 response, including up-to-date health data and personal protective equipment for City staff.
“Our communications division might have seen as dramatic a change as anybody,” Register said. “They now have one of the most state-of-the-art workspaces you’ll see in the state.”
The previous police building will be torn down to serve as parking for the new building, Register said. The previous Public Safety building, originally a library, will serve as additional office space for another City division.
COVID-19 did not impact the building’s construction, Register said. Weather was the main factor that could slow down progress.
The Public Safety Administration is allowing the public in the new building, with masks being required and common spaces being frequently cleaned, Register said. The whole building is being utilized and administration is managing the number of employees working in each area.
The new building allows for divisions to spread out and work better during the pandemic, Register said. There are still concerns for employees in close proximity for each other, but the new building’s increased space makes for less concern than working in the old building.
“The thing I’m most pleased about is that we’ve not interrupted any of our services to the public throughout the move or the COVID crisis,” Register said. “We’ve been able to manage employees in precautionary circumstances and still be here for the public. At the end of the day, our job is to be here for the community and its citizens.”
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