‘This building . . . is a once-in-a-generation event’

Northglenn begins construction on $23 million Justice Center for police and courts

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More than 150 people gathered April 14 to witness the official groundbreaking of the long-awaited Northglenn Justice Center. City officials and project planners addressed the crowd before breaking ground, and shared some insight into the building’s design.

The new address— 50 Community Center Drive — is no coincidence.

“One of the things the Chief wanted was the number 5-0. Yes, like the original Hawaii 5-0,” said David Willett, Northglenn’s director of public works, as he addressed the crowd.

The center will house the police department, city courts, holding cells and an emergency communication center. The estimated cost is $23 million, with an anticipated operational date of late 2018.

The courts and police departments have shared the same space since the early 1980s and, according to Willett, that posed some awkward moments.

“In the old building, the officers would have to carry their weapons and gear across the same parking lot that everyone else had to park in,” he said. “The new center has secure parking below.”

Ken Henton, director of public safety with Hoefer Wysocki Architecture, the firm designing the building, revealed more about the design’s perspective.

“The eagle is regarded as the symbol of justice in America. We’ve incorporated that into the design of the building, and when it’s complete it will bear a resemblance to an eagle soaring into this space for a landing,” he said. “The landscaping will enhance the feeling. It’s going to be a nice building to look at and will stand the test of time.”

Northglenn Police Honor Guard kicked off the event with the presentation of the flag and Pastor Kim Skattum gave the invocation before Mayor Joyce Downing spoke.

“This is just an exciting time for the city,” Downing said. “We’ve been working on this for several years, and it’s a wonderful step for the future.”

Northglenn Municipal Judge Corinne Magid addressed the crowd next.

“This is the largest project in a long time for the city of Northglenn,” she said. “And when it’s finished, this building will be a tangible symbol of justice. Jurors will now have a special place to sit and a room to deliberate.”

Volunteers from the Citizens Police Academy Association were on hand to answer questions and serve lemonade and cookies. After 30 minutes of speeches, city officials got down to business and got their hands dirty as they dug into the ground with silver shovels.

City Manager Jim Hayes said the city council has worked hard to get the justice center built, and he believes the new building will not disappoint.

“This building, this center, is a once-in-a-generation event,” Hayes said. “It’s going to be here far into the future. Long after all of us here are gone, it will still be here.”

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