Elkhorn police ready to move in
ELKHORN Police Chief Joel Christensen is excited to move into the Walworth County Administration building in downtown Elkhorn.
He’s got good reasons. Christensen’s headquarters in the building’s west wing will have more space for evidence collection and storage, space for booking and interrogating suspects, two conference rooms and extra space for dispatch and technology services.
His department also is getting separate locker rooms for male and female staff.
That might not sound like a big deal for bigger departments in neighboring communities, but it’s an important step for Christensen and his crew.
“Our current building is small and limiting,” Christensen said. “It will be nice to have more space.”
Architects at Milwaukee-based Zimmerman Architectural Studios have finished the floor plan for the department, which will occupy the first floor and half of the second floor of the Walworth County Administration building, 100 W. Walworth St.
Elkhorn City Council officials approved the plan and gave architects the thumbs up to open the bidding.
Project Manager John Sabinash hopes to finalize documents and have companies start bidding by Oct. 31. If all goes well, Elkhorn officers will move into their new headquarters by mid-summer 2010, Sabinash said.
“Materials have been selected so they are cost-effective but minimize impact of maintenance costs for the duration of the project,” said Sabinash, who is also vice president at Zimmerman. “We tried to select materials expected to have a long, useful life.”
The project also includes space for Elkhorn municipal court, which will occupy part of the first floor.
The cost is estimated at $1.7 million. Architectural fees are $130,000.
Elkhorn is entitled to the first floor and the north part of the second floor. The county will keep the other half of the second floor.
The county granted the first floor space to the city in exchange for the city annexing land where the current Walworth County Judicial Center is located on the east side.
“The county owned a ton of property, but the judicial center had to be built within county seat land,” said Shane Crawford, director of public works. “So now we have an annexation issue.”
Along with county building’s first floor, county officials gave the city $140,000 in remodeling credit for the building.
Once the city asked for more space within the building, county officials were able to exchange half of the second floor for the remaining $140,000 of the original credit.
Crawford said county officials have not decided what to do with the county’s half of the second floor.
Christensen is ready for the comforts of the new building.
“We think this will be a 20-years building for us,” he said.