Proposed Police Department Facility Renovations

Completed September 2022


Referendum Date: March 3, 2020

Expected Project Start: Spring 2021

Estimated Cost: ≈ $2,900,000

Carlisle city officials worked with Ethos Design Group in 2019 to develop a Facilities Master Plan covering potential renovations for City Hall, the Police Department, and the Library. This was in response to long-standing discussions between city council and city staff regarding the need to expand several cramped facilities and prepare the departments for future growth.

This portion of the plan would renovate the former City Hall/Police Department at 195 N. 1st Street into the Police Department and includes complete internal renovation, expanded storage for evidence and specialized equipment, updated training facility, a vehicle sally port, and a fenced in parking area.

On January 13, 2020, Carlisle City Council approved a resolution setting a bond referendum for the City Hall and Police Dept. projects on March 3, 2020.

City officials will be hosting several open houses to provide the public an opportunity to get more information and provide feedback on the projects.

  • January 18 Open Houses – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at City Hall
    • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Old GWB
  • January 25 Mayor’s Coffee – 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – City Hall/Police Department
  • January 28 Open Houses – 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • February 29 Mayor’s Coffee – 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Old GWB Building

Frequently Asked Questions About the City Hall Renovation Project

Facilities Master Plan? What is that and why would we need one?

Carlisle’s elected officials noted in the budget discussions in January of 2018 that there were several buildings that were being currently underutilized or would be underutilized in the near future. The most prominent of those was the vacant bank building downtown. The city had recently finalized purchase of that building and a finalized plan for use of the building was yet to be presented. Elected officials and staff brainstormed ways to best utilize it and other city-owned facilities that would address ongoing needs and growth in several departments.

During that discussion, staff visited other communities to gain insight into things that work well and do not work well in their buildings. These visits led to the idea of creating a facilities master plan that would address expansion for City Hall, Police Department, and the Library. The growth of these departments is something city officials have been discussing in one form or another for at least a decade.

The facilities master plan utilized a professional firm to come in and conduct a space needs analysis of the three departments. The results of that analysis was then used to answer a few questions:

  • How much space does each department need for future growth?
  • Can existing facilities be utilized to address those growth needs?
  • If so, what renovations or additions to those facilities need done?

What were the results of the space needs analysis for the Police Department?

The police department had several areas noted for areas of growth:

  • Better functioning customer service counter/lobby and private space to meet with an officer
  • Addition of emergency command center and training room that can be utilized by police, fire, ems, and emergency management
  • Increased amount and quality of storage space
  • Secured and enclosed storage for vehicles currently stored outside

After conducting the space needs analysis, Ethos concluded that a total area of 6,891 square feet was needed to address the growth. The current city hall/police department covers 6,576 square feet between both floors. This means the current building is 315 sq. ft. short for the growth needs. The total square footage for space needs includes an addition for a vehicular sally port.

Where do the space needs numbers come from?

Ethos has experience in sizing for different functions of public buildings. They can answer things like “what is the size of a typical office” or “how much of a police department should be designated for evidence storage”. By sitting down with staff and reviewing expected changes and growth in each department, Ethos was able to come up with what the future growth of the departments might look like and work on assessing what amount of space would be needed. For the library portion, the group also utilized a library design specialist who was able to hone in on the needs of libraries which can be quite different from your typical office spaces. The space needs analysis was done prior to reviewing whether the buildings would be a good fit for the department. This was done to ensure that the city was thinking about future needs and growth instead of trying to make the needs fit the space.

Has the current building been renovated before?

The current city hall/police department was built in the early 1990s and dedicated in about 1994. The only renovations have been adding some walls to create an enclosed storage space in the police department’s garage since it was completed in 1994.

What are we going to do about parking?

In developing the plan, parking for the buildings has been a topic of conversation as well. The police department should have sufficient parking for its daily use.

What are the estimated costs for the police department?

Estimated construction costs include complete renovation of the building including refinishing the current council chambers into a public safety training room, expansion of evidence storage, addition of security windows, fencing off the adjacent parking lot, adding a sally port and complete replacement of the mechanical systems, amongst other items.

The construction costs for this come to $882,394. In all construction projects, either commercial or residential, it is wise to build in contingencies. Contingencies for design, construction, and general fees comes to an additional $470,855. Additionally, around $181,615 in inflation over 2 years is being accounted for bringing the total cost of construction to around $1,997,773. This does not factor in soft costs. These include items required for construction like site surveys, soil borings, inspections, architectural design fees, signage, audio visual equipment, and furniture, to name a few. It also includes the cost to issue bond notes. The addition of all of these soft costs which would give us a fully furnished turn-key building. This raises the total amount of the upcoming referendum to a not-to-exceed amount of $2,900,000.

What is the price per square foot for the construction?

If we take the costs of the buildings and divide it out over the square feet of the building, we get the cost per square foot. Those breakdowns can be seen below along with some comparisons with other current new construction public building projects going on in the Metro.

ProjectEst. CostSquare FeetCost/Sq. Ft.
Carlisle Police Department (2 yr inflation)$1,998,0007,480$267
Altoona Joint City Hall and Police Dept.$35,000,00087,700$399
Clive Joint Police and Fire Station$15,200,00040,000$380
Pleasant Hill Police Station$12,000,00028,000$429
Warren County Justice Center (bids)$36,900,00073,000$505

A few things to factor in include that each of the building numbers include construction contingencies as well as a number of years of inflation built in. This was done to provide a better estimate of the true costs of the project.

How is the city planning on paying for these projects?

The city will utilize the existing debt service levy that is a part of your consolidated city tax levy. The debt service levy made up $4.50/$1,000 in valuation of the City of Carlisle’s portion of your tax levy. The city’s total tax levy rate for 2019-2020 is $14.89/$1,000 in valuation. This means the construction of the three buildings will not raise taxes.

What is the proposed timeline for moving the facilities?

To help save some costs, some of the design and development of the City Hall and Police Department potions of the plan will be done in conjunction with one another.


ReferendumMarch 32020
Approve Design Contract for City Hall/PDMarch2020
Design DevelopmentMarch – June2020
City Attorney Contract ReviewJune – July2020
Construction DocumentsJune – August2020
Bidding Police DepartmentJanuary2021
Police ContractsFebruary2021
City Hall Move Into Old GWB BuildingApril – May2021
Police Department Construction StartApril – May2021
Move Into Police DepartmentNovember – December2021

What happens to the building if the city does nothing?

There are several projects that the city would need to address in the near future regardless if something is done with the buildings or not. These include:

  • Decide a use for the vacant bank building
  • Replace the roof at city hall/police department – not replaced since installed in around 1994
  • Replace rusted railing around city hall/police department front
  • Replace several mechanical systems in city hall/police department

How long will the building be able to handle the police department?

The plan allows for current staff to have plenty of space for growth. Taking into account the current space needs and the projected growth in population and departments, city officials are confident that these buildings can sufficiently handle our growth needs for many years to come.