At the new police substation in southeast Chandler, the operative word is "flow."
Cmdr. Matt Christiansen loves the building's work flow, in which officers follow an orderly path - entrance, locker room, briefing room - before hitting the streets.
|Click on graphic for a complete map and grand opening information|
"They're not having to go to 50 different spots to get stuff done," Christiansen said.
Outside the 20,100-square-foot structure, Christiansen pointed to the roof and metal canopy over the front door. When it rains, he said, the runoff courses through a series of gutters before emerging in a waterfall and then flowing through a "stream" lined with smooth river rocks.
Now, Chandler authorities are welcoming visitors to flow through the substation's doors, as well as the adjacent park and Environmental Education Center. What are collectively called the Chandler Heights community facilities will have a grand opening ceremony on Saturday morning.
At the northeast corner of Lindsay and Chandler Heights roads, comprising most of the 113 acres, are five water recharge basins. The entire project cost $22 million, city officials said.
Already the city is seeing a payoff from its investment. Before the substation opened, officers patrolling southeast Chandler could get to their beats only after fighting through more than eight miles of traffic. One officer recalled the frustration of hearing a dispatcher issue a priority call when he had barely left the main station downtown.
During the first three months of last year, the average response time for all calls in the southeast precinct was 7 minutes, 58 seconds. In 2008, that time has dropped by almost a full minute. "Now, we've got people launching directly into their beats," police spokesman Detective David Ramer said.
The police began moving out of the main station in January. The next month, employees of the Environmental Education Center took up residence in their new digs, and the first classes were held March 1.
"It's been a real challenge because people don't know we're here," city naturalist Sandy Munoz-Weingarten said. "Even though the police substation was open and this building was open, the park itself, including Lindsay Road, was still very much under construction."
The Environmental Education Center offers classes and interactive learning opportunities.
During the local schools' recent spring break, a nature camp offered students hands-on lessons in science and the environment, such as building solar ovens.