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Equipped with the project statement of “Together we are building a safer Salem,” the team for the new Salem Police Department set out with the goal to provide continuity—for the police units and for the community. 

In need of more space to bring together units and depart­ments that were split between City Hall and off-site leased offices, the new police station replaced a nearly 50-year-old facility and includes evidence storage, a crime lab, training spaces, and the City of Salem Emergency Operations Center. The 104,000-square-foot building also includes a community meeting room, public lobby area, and outdoor plaza—balancing an inviting, civic building while maintaining secure facilities for police operations.


The requirements of the bond measure funding the project called for an aggressive schedule and doing so within clear and fixed financial parameters. JE Dunn worked with the City of Salem and the design team to develop a phased project delivery plan that included 11 bid packages, early procurement of the structural steel (at end of design development phase), and close coordination of the design packages which included cost reconciliation activities with the design team. As a result, JE Dunn had 52% of the work already in place or contracted by the time the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) was finalized. This approach allowed construction and design to run concurrently, resulting in the shortest possible schedule and meeting the aggressive schedule requirements.



Time constraints and a tight budget meant the design and construc­tion teams had to carefully evaluate plans and collaborate closely to drive the design to meet the budget without sacrificing the client’s desired program. Through close value engineering (VE) coordination and sharing real-time cost data, the team could better track proposed VE items and identify places to improve the delivery schedule as well as save cost. “The VE process was integral in improving efficiency and ensuring we didn’t waste resources or money,” said Senior Pre­construction and Estimating Manager David Slokken. “For example, the project documents called for mass excavation of much of the site’s three acres—an expensive and time-consuming method for improving the soil’s bearing capacity. JE Dunn worked with the design team to develop a bid alternate for rammed aggregate piers in lieu of the mass excavation.


Integrating low-voltage systems such as the security components is yet another way the team saved cost while ensuring access was con­figured correctly from day one. As a building serving many different needs, each with their own security requirements, the hardware and security systems were very complex. JE Dunn and our design part­ners worked closely with the Police Department to coordinate which parts of the building would need to be accessible to which groups of people, so we could plan out which types of door hardware and security systems would be needed in each part of the building.


With the intention of creating a space for the community to gather as well as house police department operations, the police depart­ment put in an immense amount of work to get the bond passed in addition to seeking community input throughout the design process. From getting public input on selecting the art installation to addressing community needs for a multipurpose meeting room, the Salem Police Department created a building that reflects their community—one that will serve as a civic anchor for the north edge of downtown Salem. “JE Dunn was instrumental in helping create a beautiful, highly functional police station that serves as a focal point for the community as well,” said Steve Bellshaw, Deputy Chief of Police, Salem Police Department. “The ability to bring all the diverse, complex needs under one roof was a big challenge, but one we were able to accomplish as a team.”