Architect to Allen Park officials: New municipal complex has good flow, ‘no extravagance of space’

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Allen Park Councilwoman Gail McLeod (left), Councilman Kevin Rourke and Building Official David Boomer listen during an April 4 at a city council study session about the new municipal complex in the former Oakwood property at 15801 Southfield Road.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Plans for a new municipal complex show good building flow, but no extravagance use of space, Architect Najim Saymuah said to city officials at an April 4 study session.

The session, attended by city council members and other officials, allowed attendees to ask questions about the architectural plans for the former Oakwood property, 15801 Southfield Road, being converted into a city hall and police department.

“I am really satisfied with the flow,” Saymuah said. “I think it flows on both sides.”

The city hall service counter will be wide open, as opposed to being behind glass, which employees said they preferred.

“We’ve gone back and forth on that, and in talking to the staff, and I think the difference between now and then is we are going to have a safe, where the cashier can put the stuff directly in the safe, as opposed to leaving it out in a drawer for hours at a time, before it gets back to the vault,” Building Official Dave Boomer said.

“They don’t want to be behind glass and enclosed,” Finance Director Robert Cady said.

Cady said as many documents as possible will be purged or digitally scanned, but from a legal standpoint, the city must maintain hard copies of many documents.

He said the city clerk also has a lot of election equipment that must be secured.

“I understand that they’ve changed the standards, and the equipment is getting smaller,” Cady said. “We are hoping once that happens that will use up a lot less space, and that may be a possibility to add another conference room.”

Cady said once the final city hall layout has been decided, the staff will decide what they will take with them to the new location.

Saymuah said public buildings need to have dimensions that are not always functional.

“The strip mall and so on, the developers want to do parking, they want to do this, and they don’t care,” he said. “But we have a different image to project.”

The new city hall chamber will have seating for 80 to 100 people, with television monitors in the hallway for overflow attendees.

“There is no extravagance of space,” Saymuah said. “It is not really very tight, but it is not extravagant either.”

The back of the facility, on the west side, will close a section of Philomene, and will provide 50 secure parking spaces and a generator for the complex.

The jail facility will have a separate masonry wall, which will extend up to the roof line.

Police Chief James Wilkewitz said the new facility is good, with a nice flow to it.

“It meets all of our needs, and we get our jail back,” he said. “It looks good. It should work for our purposes. It is about as efficient as you can get.”

Wilkewitz said arrangements have been made for officers to use the gun range at Recoil Firearms, 22509 Ecorse Road, Taylor, since the current and future police department do not have a gun range.

“It’s about five minutes away from our city border, and they are hardly charging us anything,” Wilkewitz said. “It’s a great facility, it’s nice and clean, it’s close.

“They let us pretty much set up training the way we want to set up training, and do police training, not just stand at the fire line and shoot down.”

He said his officers have all been there, and they were pleased with the facility.

At the new police station, like the former facility, there will be a sally port, a secure, protected entryway for prisoner transport. The ambulances will be across the street at the fire department on Roosevelt.

Councilwoman Gail McLeod said she is glad the city is moving forward with the complex.

“We are going to end up with what I think is going to be a very nice facility that the residents will be proud of, and we will be there for a long, long time,” she said. “It will be very convenient,  utilize our resources, and it’s a good step forward for the city.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)