Construction to begin on new police building in Bayview after years of delays

Nearly five years after voters approved $165 million for the project, San Francisco is finally expected to break ground on a new police building in the Bayview to house motorcycle officers and the crime lab.

Construction on the Traffic Company and Forensic Services Division Facility at 1995 Evans Ave. near Toland Street is scheduled to begin by June and continue for two years until the end of 2021, according to Department of Public Works Project Manager Michael Rossetto.

The plans call for motorcycle officers and Crime Scene Investigations to move from the seismically-unsafe Hall of Justice to the new building. The crime lab will relocate there from Building 606 in the Hunters Point Shipyard, where there are questions about possible contamination.

The three-story building will include a parking garage for Traffic Company, a storage area for vehicles involved in crimes and a firing range where criminalists can test fire weapons.

The building is the most expensive project included in a $400 million earthquake safety bond that San Francisco voters approved in June 2014. Last May, the Capital Planning Committee approved an additional $8.7 million needed to close a budget shortfall for the project.

The project has had to absorb a number of unanticipated costs since inception including $2.5 million to add space for the Body Cameras Unit, $4.6 million in delays and $5.5 million to drill into bedrock because of poor soil conditions.

“This project is less than blessed with the ideal soil conditions given the site that was selected,” Rossetto told the Police Commission last Wednesday.

The facility is one of several infrastructure projects that the San Francisco Police Department is currently working on.

The department also plans to relocate its evidence storage facilities from the basement of the Hall of Justice and elsewhere, and is looking to move its driving training course from Pier 96.

Deputy Chief Robert Moser said at the commission hearing that the Department of Real Estate is currently negotiating separate leases for a property storage facility and the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, but he did not disclose the locations or provide cost estimates.

The department uses 13 acres of land at Pier 96 to train recruits and officers in collision avoidance and high-speed driving tactics, Moser said. But the SFPD has been told to leave Pier 96 by June to make way for a new tenant who secured a lease with the Port of San Francisco.

The department was scheduled to hold an EVOC class in July.

“That puts us on a short time frame to not only secure the site but get the needed infrastructure improvements together in order to have that class be able to operate on the pad in July,” Moser said.

Moser said the department is in talks with the Port to temporarily extend its month-to-month lease.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the Capital Planning Committee.

Michael Barba
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