Mayor Brainard proposes expansion of police headquarters, relocation of City Court

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Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard is proposing an expansion of the city’s police headquarters because he says more room is needed.

Huntington Bank is looking to move from its building next to the current police headquarters to a new space on Range Line Road that formerly housed Walgreens. Brainard said this would present an opportunity to expand into the next building.

“We’re out of room,” he said. “The police headquarters was built at a time when we had a population of 20,000 people. Now we’re getting close to 100,000.”

Most officers work on the street, but there’s plenty of support staff and administrators that work primarily in an office environment. In addition, Carmel’s information technology department is in the attic of police headquarters, and Brainard said this department also needs more room. He said it makes sense to house IT with police because it’s a secure environment.

In addition, Brainard would like to create a secure area that could house Carmel’s City Court, which is currently on the second floor of City Hall. If the court is relocated, prisoners transported in shackles could come into a secure area instead of through the lobby of City Hall.

By moving the City Court into the expanded police headquarters, Brainard said extra space would be available at City Hall as well. There are some departments, such as legal, which are spread out into different offices all over the building. The Carmel Redevelopment Commission could possibly move into City Hall instead of paying for space in the Lurie Building in the Carmel Arts & Design District.

Brainard said he’s also floating the idea of building the courtroom in the police station expansion with all of the requirements needed for a circuit or superior court. This means it would include a jury box, deliberation room and audio/visual capabilities. Brainard said he’d like to see Hamilton County’s superior court move from Noblesville to Carmel. He said they are out of space in Noblesville, and from Carmel’s perspective, it would save a lot of time and money sending officers to Noblesville to testify as witnesses in cases.

Brainard declined to release cost estimates but said he does have an idea of what it might cost. He said Studio M Architecture and Planning, located in the Arts District, is looking at what might be needed for such an expansion. Dan Moriarity, principal and owner at Studio M, previously worked on projects such as The Center for the Performing Arts while he was a principal at CSO Architects.

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