U City police expected to be housed in modular units for two years

UNIVERSITY, MO (KPLR) – They have been exposed to mold, mildew, and asbestos. But police officers in University City will soon have a new home.

Next month, staff will move out of the existing condemned building and into modular units located across the parking lot.

The move comes months after University City’s building commissioner condemned the police annex. He documented environmental and health hazards including mold, mildew and asbestos.

The union representing most University City officers has argued in court that the conditions have forced staff to work in a dangerous environment.

A judge originally ordered that officers be re-located by mid-July. The deadline was extended to allow the city to coordinate the move and construct modular units to fit the site.

Legal Counsel for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 Danielle Thompson said the move was delayed yet again, based on her conversations with counsel representing University City.

“August 26, everybody was supposed to be out of the old building and into the new building,” she said.  “It’s probably going to be closer to September 9, when we’ll get everyone at of the building into the new trailers.”

University City Manager Lehman Walker said crews are in the process of moving equipment and furniture to the modular units.

He said he anticipates staff to work in the modular units for two years. The cost to relocate staff has not been determined, he said.

An architectural firm commissioned by University City reported renovation of the existing police annex would cost $25 million and that construction of a new facility would run at less than half the cost, at $12 million. The price did not include the cost of purchasing land or moving expenses.

The city said it is working to remediate the problems outlined in the condemnation order.

A permanent location for police staff has not yet been selected.