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Salinas moves forward with new Police HQ, El Gabilan Library

Ground breaking on new SPD headquarters and library slated for August

SALINAS, Calif. - The City of Salinas is moving forward with two big projects – a new police headquarters and new El Gabilan Library. This week, council members approved the sale of bonds for those projects.

 "Getting everything tight and secure, then going to the bond market, which is like buying a house,” Don Reynolds, acting Public Works director explained, “Like going to the mortgage company, and saying, ‘Here's all my paycheck stubs, here's all of my liabilities, here's all the risk and I'm squeaky clean,’ and you want the best bond rating. An 800 would be a good credit rating for you and me. To us, a good bond rating would be an A++."

The current Salinas Police Department facility is 60 years old and was built for a workforce a fraction of its size. 

Ask anyone who works there, it’s time for change.

"It was originally built in 1958 for probably about a third of the workforce that we are currently authorized for,” said Cmdr. Stan Cooper. “So we are kind of crawling over each other just to get daily tasks done> we're always trying to shuffle offices around to try and maximize things. We lose a lot of efficiencies as a result of that. There's no room for storage, there's no room for people. And then there's the smell. If you come here in the afternoon, the sewer system is constantly backing up on us. It's just in really bad shape."

Later this summer, ground will be broken at the corner of Alisal and Murphy, where the new Salinas Police Service Headquarters will be built. Planners aren’t just thinking about the present, but the future.

"Our ballistics and forensics lab is going to be expanded out now to where hopefully our turnaround time and our ability to do better forensics work will come out of that. We're getting a larger and more modern firearms range," Cooper said.

And there will be public space for residents to use. 

Across town, El Gabilan Library is getting a much needed renovation and expansion. The 50 year old building is less than 3,400 square feet and doesn’t fit the needs of the community. 

“The population size, in a two mile radius from El Gabilan is 44,000 people,” said Cary Ann Siegfried, Library and Community Services Director. “Our city’s general plan calls for about .5 square feet of library service per capita, for every thousand people, which means the right library size for that size of community is about a 22,000 square foot building."

The plan is to bring the new facility into the 21st Century with additions like an internet café and an amphitheater. 

All this now made possible with the Salinas City Council ok’ing bond sales this week, though taxpayer approved measures will help offset the $70 million price tag. 

Public Works believes the project will be quite efficient, because it’s using some of the same resources.

"It's phenomenal that both projects came together at the same time in the schematic design and the development design phase that we were able to use the same developer, to build both projects,” Reynolds said. “Because if you think about it, we have one project manager, two projects. We have the purchase of doorknobs, maybe they'll look the same in both buildings. The crane will be on Alisal one day and on 1400 North Main the next week, so the efficiencies make the project better."

Groundbreaking on both projects is slated for August 1. The police department should be up and running in the first quarter of 2020. 

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