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Desert Hot Springs City Council unanimously approves plan to redesign Public Safety Campus in phases

During Tuesday night's meeting, City Council members rejected all bids on the current project after they ended up being much higher than anticipated. Now, city leaders are going back to the drawing board to create a new plan that stays under budget.

“There's always unlimited wants and limited resources,” said Russell Betts, a Councilman for Desert Hot Springs. He was one of the leaders who voted unanimously to approve a new plan to build the Public Safety Campus in phases. The campus has been in the works since late 2022, when the city approved a $15 million bond for several projects, including a new fire station on the east side, and upgrades to a current one next door to the police department.

“By the time we looked at what was left to put in the public safety campus, and upgrades to a fire station, there just simply wasn't enough money," said Betts. "So the council decided to be a little bit more frugal and come up with a phased plan that will get us a new police campus. Right now. They're operating in trailers that are 20-years old. It's time for those to go."

Phase one will include the construction of the police department annex building only, but it would maintain all of the full operations currently going on at the entire site. The modification and redesign of the approved plans will take about a month. Them, the city will open up requests for new bids on the annex, which will remain open for about two months.

"This would be a much more welcoming environment for the public to come in," explained Betts. "There'll be a lobby, they'll be able to meet with an officer will have a room where they go outside, there's some privacy concerns concerns in our city with such a small Police Department and the way it operates now, so this will be much more accessible to the public when they have a need to interact with our police department."

The entire project is estimated to cost between $6.4-7.5 million with this new plan, saving the city over $3 million. There's no clear timeline for when the project will break ground, but Betts says he and the rest of the city council are looking forward to the new campus.

“Getting officers into a good new modern facility is so crucial, because that will help them do their job of keeping our city safe," said Betts. "That's our goal, and it always has been, to make Desert Hot Springs one of the safest cities in California."

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Tori King


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