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Des Moines Police Evidence Storage Addition


The Des Moines Police Department needed a new vehicle processing area – the existing space was cramped and poorly lit. It offered room for only one vehicle at a time, which impacted the department’s ability to review cases in a timely manner. The city’s initial request was for a one-story addition with space for three bays, one of which would store its tactical vehicle. Des Moines envisioned adding two floors to this building in the future, but believed that its budget would only currently allow for the one-story structure.


Conducting diligent budget analysis and research of cost-effective options, Shive-Hattery presented a solution using precast concrete for the building envelope with only a small budget increase. Precast concrete is durable, secure and less costly to install than other building envelope materials. The city was able to identify additional funding to take advantage of constructing the larger, $1.5 million building to will fit their needs for a longer period of time.

The west façade of the existing police department building was identified as having historical significance. The design team consulted with local and state agencies on design elements of the new addition so it properly respected the historical nature of the existing police department, as well as the entire neighborhood.

Due to minimal project change orders, the city chose to turn vacated holding cells into evidence processing labs part-way through construction. In a short four-week timeframe, the Shive-Hattery team was able to completely redesign the space into two lab rooms.


Creative solutions allowed the City of Des Moines to gain more than originally thought possible. The police department believed it could only afford a new one-story addition for vehicle processing. With thoughtful planning and collaboration, however, the design team helped the City of Des Moines achieve not only the new vehicle processing addition, but also a second story that more than doubled evidence storage space and added much-needed lab space. The new facility and renovated lab area allow investigators to do their jobs properly, in a well-lit environment, for the betterment of Des Moines citizens.
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