Milton-Freewater Police & Dispatch Space Needs Study

Milton-Freewater, Oregon

How do we create a forward-thinking concept design that is responsive to the needs of a small agency?

The City of Milton-Freewater recently selected FFA to assist in preparing a bond measure to build a new public safety facility. The pre-bond planning work included programming, site analysis, concept design, and pricing for a new police station and dispatch facility. FFA always enjoys working in smaller communities and developing designs that elevate their civic architecture while being place-specific and responsive to the existing built environment. In this case, we worked to create a forward-thinking building design that will help the City and Police to enhance their partnership with the community as well as attract talent from the surrounding region.

The team engaged staff and officers to understand how best to tailor the design to meet their operational needs while fitting the building appropriately on the small, constrained site. As the design evolved with the client,  the vision of a warm and welcoming building with a facade that softens the public’s initial impression of the department took shape. It was important that the new building contribute to a strong civic center, taking some exterior cues from the City Hall and Library across the street.  Because the site is also surrounded by nearby residential neighborhoods, the new facility needs to integrate into the residential context of the neighboring properties.

The resulting design looks nothing like the cramped, unsecure basement space in city hall where the department currently operates. Instead, it sparks interactions among people, provides modern-day workspaces with abundant access to daylight, and features a cross-laminated timber (CLT) roof and ceiling system.  Operational requirements, ideal program adjacencies, and community functions were all carefully considered. The conceptual design organizes all spaces in a logical sequence of operations to support the everyday needs of officers and staff.  The resulting report advances the department’s goals for a community-centered policing model.

Year Completed:
7,500 sf
Project Contact:
Ian Gelbrich, AIA
Partner, Market Lead
Exterior View from Street
Concept Design
Aerial view of roof forms that increase daylighting throughout the building
Lobby View