Building a bright future

Building a bright future

The cities of O’Fallon and Wentzville celebrate the opening of new municipal buildings with improved services

By Brett Auten

Out with the old and in with the new.

Two cities in St. Charles County have taken that concept when it comes to municipal buildings.

The bustling growth of O’Fallon has led to the opening of a new Justice Center, which will be the home of the O’Fallon Police Department and Municipal Court. 

The Justice Center cost $26 million and features more than 96,000 square feet of space and includes state-of-the-art training tools and simulators, an indoor firing range, an underground garage and ample space for expansion as the city of O’Fallon grows over the next 30 years. 

The building was paid for by bonds supported by a property tax increase, which more than 60-percent of O’Fallon voters supported.

According to the city of O’Fallon’s Communications Director Thomas Drabelle, the project has been on the radar for years.

“O’Fallon has grown beyond our expectations,” Drabelle said. “Right now our population is around 86,000, and it is projected to reach 125,000 over the next 30 years. About eight years ago we realized that a justice center like this is what we need to continue to be safe and provide a quality police department and to meet that police department’s training needs. This will not only give us some breathing room but also some room to grow.”

The public is invited to the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Justice Center, located at 1019 Bryan Road, on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event will begin with a ribbon cutting outside of the building at 11 a.m. Following the ceremony, the building will be open for guests to tour the facility and O’Fallon Police Officers and Municipal Court staff will be stationed throughout the building to talk about its features.

According to O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy, the Justice Center is a testament to how much the residents and businesses value public safety.
“This building is truly a testament to how much our residents and businesses value public safety,” said Hennessy. “As our police department outgrew its previous home in City Hall, we knew we had to ask our residents to fund the construction of a new facility through a tax increase. We are so grateful for their overwhelming support of this project, and I cannot wait for our residents to see this great new facility. The O’Fallon Police Department has proven year after year to be one of the best departments in the country. Now, they have a home that also is among the nation’s best.”

In Wentzville, it is all about consolidation and convenience. 

After more than 30 years at its previous location, in mid-November, the Wentzville City Hall moved into its new address at 1001 Schroeder Creek Boulevard, adjacent to the Wentzville Police Department’s Law Enforcement Center at the intersection of Wentzville Parkway and Schroeder Creek Boulevard.

The new 45,000 square-foot building now houses what were five separate buildings and nine different departments.

“It’s exciting and a little strange having us all in one building,” Wentzville Communications Manager Kara Roberson said. “This new design will carry us through for the next 30 years. 

Aside from space, the thrust of the new central location is to better serve the citizens, allowing those to pay utility bills, attend municipal court and board meeting, and apply for permits all in one spot.

The undertaking has been about ten years in the making, and the overall project budget was $15 million, and according to Roberson, paid for without debt.

“It was a well, thought out plan by both the current and previous boards,” Roberson said. 

The former city hall building is currently housing items for a big spring auction, and the city could make it available to lease soon after.

CUTLINE: Photos by Ray Rockwell

Cover-Muni1 O’Fallon Police Officers Kevin DeHart (seated) and Ron Kendall prepare the new training simulator in the new O’Fallon Justice Center.

Cover-Muni2 The Community Development Public Works office is one of several agencies housed in the new Wentzville City Hall.

Cover-Muni3 The new O’Fallon Justice Center is located at 1019 Bryan Road.