When the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office enforcement division moved into its new home in Brooklyn Park in 1994, the facility didn’t have much room for expansion.
Not only was it headquarters for the investigative units and crime lab, but the attached prefabricated building housed a large fleet of squads, ATVs, boats, mobile command units and confiscated vehicles.
Significant growth in personnel, equipment and investigative activity now has made the facility obsolete. So after years of planning, the Hennepin County Board approved $41 million this week to construct a new 100,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth with storage room for more than 110 vehicles and trailers.
“We are excited about this potential project and how a modern facility will help us better meet the public safety needs of Hennepin County residents,” said Chief Deputy Tracey Martin.
County officials are seeking construction bids for the project, which they expect will break ground in the spring. Recent projected cost estimates have already risen by more than $8 million due to inflation, labor costs and shortages, and material shortages and delays.
Bids must meet the county’s goals for diverse construction workers and include subcontracts with minority- and female-owned businesses, said County Administrator David Hough.
The Sheriff’s Office employs hundreds who patrol Hennepin County, work with Minneapolis police and run investigations, a crime lab, water patrol, a violent offender task force and other divisions.
The Brooklyn Park headquarters is adjacent to the county’s recycling and transfer station. Once the new facility is built, the county plans to build a new anaerobic digestion facility on the 6-acre Brooklyn Park site that will convert food waste to natural gas.
The new headquarters will be built on the campus of the adult correctional facility in Plymouth. To make room for it, a work release building that hasn’t been used for years will be demolished.
The county conducted an assessment of the Brooklyn Park facility in 2017 to address increasing space needs and failing infrastructure. The recommendation was to build a 100,000-square-foot facility that could house 116 vehicles or trailers.
County officials considered several sites before choosing the Plymouth location to keep costs down, assure ease of access and improve response times. It’s also near the Sheriff’s Office emergency communications center.
The proposed design includes areas for a multi-agency communications center, armory and the county SWAT team. The garage will feature large stalls and circulation factors to accommodate the diversity and fluctuating size of the Sheriff’s Office fleet.
To meet the goals of Hennepin County’s climate action plan, the facility will have exterior and interior electric vehicle stations and infrastructure to accommodate more stations in the future, full photovoltaic/thermal retention hybrid panel arrays and a geothermal system.
Other features will include energy efficient heating and cooling systems, carbon emissions reduction through electrification, and using native plants and tree conservation to limit gas use.
The Sheriff’s Office facility is Hennepin County’s latest large capital project. The county recently opened a $53 million state-of-the-art Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnetonka, and has funded expansion of the North Point Health and Wellness Center in Minneapolis and a public safety training facility in Maple Grove.