Hospital gets keys to NLV police building

North Las Vegas turned over the keys to its police headquarters Thursday, sealing neighboring North Vista Hospital’s takeover of the decades-old James B. Slagle Public Safety Building.

North Vista, which purchased the city’s oft-maligned building for $1.9 million in February, won’t actually need keys to the old cop shop until a lease-back option expires in summer 2015.

Police officials report the department is about a tenth of the way through a long-planned move to the city’s mothballed jail at 2332 Las Vegas Blvd. North. They hope to complete that transition by June.

Hospital leaders plan to raze the building — one plagued by a host of well-documented flooding, maintenance and asbestos issues — the moment police clear out.

This time next year, North Vista CEO Cathy Story hopes to start paving over land that houses the department’s fleet of police cruisers ahead of a planned expansion of the hospital’s cardiology, intensive care and emergency room facilities.

“I picture putting our ER where it can be accessed from Bruce (Street) and Lake Mead (Boulevard),” Story said. “We’ll probably close in that (underground) parking and make that the ICU.”

The hospital plans to pay for the old cop shop’s demolition while North Las Vegas picks up an estimated $3 million tab associated with moving city police officers and equipment four blocks north to the city’s Justice Facility.

Police Department spokeswoman Chrissie Coon said the move is coming along months ahead of schedule, though she expects progress will slow once movers dig into the department’s evidence lockers and dispatch terminals.

“The 10 percent we’ve done so far is really just administrative infrastructure,” Coon said. “Dispatch and evidence will be the hardest to move. … You can’t just stop operations on that stuff and start somewhere else.”

Coon said the department hadn’t yet decided where to house police dispatchers during the transition but said residents won’t see an interruption in police services.

Mayor John Lee, who helped spearhead the push to offload the old building, lauded the move as just the first of many future collaborations between hospital and city officials.

“This is the biggest business deal I’ve done in my time here,” the first-term mayor said. “When you say North Vista Hospital in the future, you will think North Las Vegas.”

Contact James DeHaven at jdehaven@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven.