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Panel to give recommendations on facility

The City Council will meet in special session Tuesday to look at recommendations that could change the configuration of the new public safety facility.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Lawton City Hall, Southwest 9th and C.

Council members are expected to look at recommendations from a four-member council study committee appointed last week to consider changes for the public safety facility that has broken ground along Railroad Street, south of East Gore Boulevard. That facility was designed to hold Lawton Police Department and the city jail, municipal court and the firefighting crews of Central Fire Station.

But, some council members said they want to revisit the city departments to be held in that facility, looking at proposals to remove Central Fire Station and, instead, keep it at its current location in downtown Lawton; and significantly reduce the size of what now is designed as a 100-bed jail. The study committee met three times last week and members are slated to meet again Monday to complete analysis of the jail proposal, then craft recommendations for the full council.

Tuesday's agenda focuses on those recommendations, directing the council to take action on the committee's recommendations and to appoint a negotiating team with a lead negotiator, which will meet with the facility's contractor to negotiate a change order, should changes be mandated for the building. Flintco was awarded the $33.7 million construction project in August and has been doing the earthwork needed for the building's foundation since November.

While the firm has an earth moving permit, it doesn't yet have building permits. City officials said that is because the council must rezone the Railroad Street site, which now holds industrial zoning, to P-F Public Facilities District before construction is allowed. That zoning is crucial for the fire station. The north end of the 5-acre tract, where the fire station would be located, holds I-3 Light Industrial District zoning and city planners have said that zoning does not permit jails.

The rezoning request also is on Tuesday's agenda because council members have said they didn't want to consider the rezoning until they made a decision on whether any changes would be made to the building.

The Lawton Constitution

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