by Debbie Coleman-Topi
The old “bumblebee” police station on Barry Road is for sale.
In December, construction crews began the task of replacing the Kansas City Police Department’s North Patrol police station, often dubbed "the bumblebee building," due to its yellow-and-black exterior.
The City of Kansas City, which owns the Northland icon, will sell the building after replacing it with a modern station designed to provide easier public access and a location in a growing area, police officials said.
The new North Patrol Division Station, slated for completion in a little more than a year, will be located at 10610 N.W. Prairie View Road, along the Interstate 29 corridor in Platte County.
Kansas City officials say the present station, constructed in 1976 at 1001 N.W. Barry Road, has many deficits, including limited public access, outdated user issues and physical problems with the building's sewer, lighting, roof, heating and air conditioning and inadequate parking.
In addition, the building does not meet current standards for the way police officials interact with the public, said Major Sharon Laningham of the Kansas City Police Department's Construction Division.
Laningham said today's police departments tend to be more community-friendly by providing more public access areas, including public meeting spaces, a public lobby and front desk area.
"Our physical location doesn't help that at all," Laningham said.
The new structure is the latest, and final, in a series of police facilities being paid for by a 2010 voter-approved quarter-cent public safety sales tax, an extension of a quarter-cent tax initially approved by voters in 2002.
Other structures paid for by the tax include: South Patrol and Traffic Division, a Crime Lab and the most recent addition, a new East Patrol headquarters.
Changes in public safety concerns and architectural planning and approach will allow for better results, Laningham said.
"We build more with the idea of how work-flow occurs," she said, adding that, in the present station, "it's very difficult to hear and be heard without hollering and then bothering other people."
In addition, the present facility has detention areas in the basement when holding cells today are made visible to the front desk sergeant for surveillance.
The 25,000-square foot planned facility will be located on 15 acres of land owned by the city and is near KCI Airport.
"It's never a bad idea to have a police station close to the airport.”
So far, progress on the project has been limited. Those visiting the construction site today will see little more than the relocation of dirt, Langingham said, adding, "a lot of it depends on the weather."