A little over a year ago, the Fishers Police Department moved into a new home that supports the quality service the officers provide to their growing community.
Before moving into their new facility, the department was based out of a building half its size. It was built in 1994, when there were just 30 police officers on staff. As Fishers has grown, the police department’s size has increased to more than 100 officers. The limited space in their previous building required some staff and evidence to be housed in other locations.
Located at the Municipal Complex in Fishers’ growing Nickel Plate District, the new, 48,000-square-foot police station brings all of the officers and evidence under the same roof and introduces new features such as a training room, lab, armory and gym. It also includes an adjacent 82,600-square-foot, 240-space parking garage. With spaces available to the public, the garage allows Fishers to meet current parking needs while supporting existing and future development in the district.
On the anniversary of the department’s move-in, members of The Hagerman Group team, along with Fishers Chief of Police Ed Gebhart, reflected back on the project and what it has done for the department and community.
Partnership in project delivery
The downtown redevelopment of Fishers has attracted significant private investment in recent years. The City sought a private-public partnership to develop the police station project so they could take advantage of development expertise, increase efficiency, and reduce risk. The procurement method also included entering into a BOT (build-operate-transfer) agreement with a developer to plan, design, construct, operate, maintain, and finance a public facility on behalf of the City, then transfer the public facility to the City on a future date. Tax increment financing revenues provide the project’s repayment source.
The Hagerman Group’s design-build proposal was selected for the new Fishers Police Station and Parking Garage, with Hagerman Police Station LLC—a partnership between Greg Martz of GM Development and Jeff Hagerman—as the developer. While the BOT Agreement was a first for the City, Hagerman has used it on previous projects around Indiana. In addition, Greg has worked on more than 60 projects using a similar delivery process.
“The Hagerman Group has experience with a variety of delivery and procurement methods, so we’re comfortable working within a framework that best fits the client’s needs,” Jeff said. “The BOT delivery method provides an alternate tool in a client’s toolbox to engage the team they feel is best qualified to deliver their scope, while also benefitting from flexible options on a financing structure.”
Greg added that the approach transfers the risk from the owner, allows them to see the schematic design and guaranteed maximum price prior to approving the project, and provides a low issuance cost on financing.
“Because the risk falls on the development team, it’s essential to have a construction partner you can trust,” Greg said. “Our relationship with The Hagerman Group centers around transparent and healthy communication, and they consistently bring viable solutions that help meet the goals of each project.”
Partnership through the design and construction process
Situated in an area surrounded by development, the project site had limited space for construction staging and created unique complexities for the team to address through phasing and coordination. The work kicked off with the construction of the 3½-story parking garage, followed by the police station.
“The building’s layout and site created some tight areas for construction to occur,” said Josh Heltsley, project manager at The Hagerman Group. “Our subcontractors were extremely cooperative in coordinating their efforts based on the project’s unique needs.”
That spirit of teamwork also applied to Hagerman’s relationship with the police department.
According to Fishers Chief of Police Ed Gebhart, “the Hagerman team was very gracious, collaborative, and understanding that a building project is not something we do every day.”
Along with the chief and assistant chief, captains who represented the department’s four divisions were fully engaged in the project process. The captains would then report back to their respective teams and seek input, increasing the efficiency of the feedback loop.
“Hagerman helped us make key decisions by walking us through what we could and couldn’t do to maximize the building we wanted under the budget we had established,” Chief Gebhart said.
“The police department had modified their existing building so many times that it was fun and rewarding for them to question how they operate and what they needed in a new facility,” said Matthew Schmitz, project executive at The Hagerman Group.
“They were involved in design decisions, sharing their wants, needs and thoughts on the building’s layout and flow,” Josh added. “Their early involvement also allowed for an easier transition once construction was complete.”
That involvement included visiting The Hagerman Group’s office to do a virtual walk-through of the police station.
“The captains’ engagement was already high, but after experiencing our virtual reality tools, it skyrocketed,” Matthew said. “It really helped them visualize the facility, allowing the team to make any needed adjustments before we started building.”
“Hagerman took the time to do things that set them apart,” Chief Gebhart said. “The virtual walkthrough was great because it gave our team a feeling for what the agency was going to look like before it went up. Hagerman was willing to meet us anywhere about anything at any time. We felt very important to them.”
When the facility was under construction, the officers visited the site regularly to check on progress and see their new home take shape.
From partnership to friendship
Looking back over the department’s first in year in their new space, Chief Gebhart says “everything is performing great.”
“There’s lots of room and all resources are working under one building, which helps us be a better department to our community,” he said. “We’re blessed and feel it’s one of best built buildings in Indiana. Our relationship with Hagerman has become a professional friendship and we continue to communicate with them on a regular basis.”
Chief Gebhart noted that the success of the training space has exceeded their expectations.
“We’re getting a lot of use out the training component,” he said. “The opportunity to train our community is excellent. The facility is second to none and allows us to host events and collaborate with other agencies in our community.”
From the Hagerman team’s perspective, the experience of working with the Fishers police department continues to resonate.
“Throughout the project process, the business relationship turned into friendships,” Matthew said. “With construction, there are a lot of inevitable challenges, so when good, healthy relationships come out of it, it’s extra rewarding.”
“I really enjoyed working with the police department,” Josh said. “They gained an understanding of the ins and outs of construction while we learned about the issues that were important to them. The station was a huge upgrade for them, from the space to the technology, so it was fun to be part of that. In addition, I live in Fishers, so it was fulfilling to be part of something that benefits the community.”
“Hagerman exemplified patience with us and helped educate us along with way to get the product we wanted,” Chief Gebhart said. “We still communicate and talk to the leadership that we became friends with. We didn’t feel like a customer, we felt like a team, and that’s always a great feeling.”
Project Team Members and Article Sources:
Ed Gebhart, Chief of Police, Fishers Police Department
Jeff Hagerman and Greg Martz, Developers, Hagerman Police Station LLC
Matthew Schmitz, Project Executive, The Hagerman Group
Josh Heltsley, Project Manager, The Hagerman Group
Mike Vaughan, Project Superintendent, The Hagerman Group
Casey Flood, Project Engineer, The Hagerman Group
Architect – RQAW