Within the next few weeks, the I.V. Foot Patrol may get the green light on its plans to build a new and larger station just a couple of blocks away from its current location.

IVFP Lt. Sol Linver said the foot patrol needs the new office, to be located behind I.V. Theater on Trigo Road, because it has outgrown its current space at 6446 Pardall Rd. Slated for completion by the end of 2007, the new building will accommodate the increasing needs of the IVFP and the community, he said.

“As UCSB raises its enrollment, the population of Isla Vista rises,” Linver said. “As a result, the staff has continued to grow, and we expect it to grow even further.”

The new station is part of Santa Barbara County’s Capital Improvement Plan – a long-term project to improve infrastructure throughout the county, Erik Raney, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman, said. The lease on the IVFP’s current office is about to expire, he said, making now a perfect time to design and build a new one.

“The new office is specifically built for law enforcement,” Raney said. “It will be much better equipped than the old office.”

Linver said the project is in the final stages of planning, and architects are finishing the design and layout. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors must approve the project, which Linver said the IVFP hopes will happen in the next few weeks.

If the approval process goes smoothly, Linver said construction could begin in early 2007.

UCSB leases the current office space on Pardall Road from a private landlord for the IVFP to use, said Marty Levy, director of UCSB’s Capital Development, Budget and Planning. She said UCSB currently helps pay for the space because a few members of the UC Police Dept. are stationed at IVFP as part of a rotation. However, the county will pay for the new building, she said.

UCSB and the IVFP have been searching for a more permanent office since 2003, and they recently decided to build on the university land currently used as a parking lot for I.V. Theater, Levy said. Santa Barbara County will lease the property from UCSB, and the lease will last for at least the next 40 years, she said.

While parking spaces will still be available behind I.V. Theater, the number will be drastically reduced, Linver said. In addition, the bicycle parking area will be cut in half, he said.

Linver said the IVFP will have four parking spots designated for visitors to the office, and 10 to 12 parking spots for officers and police vehicles.

Holding cells will be installed in the building, Linver said, which will in part be used to house subjects arrested for public intoxication. Currently, the IVFP sends all arrested subjects to the Santa Barbara County Jail, he said.

“They are just like jail cells,” Linver said. “We can hold people until they sober up and we can either release them or send them to the Santa Barbara County Jail.”

However, 2005-06 Associated Students President Chaz Whatley, a fourth-year sociology major, said she opposes the holding cells, because she does not think the IVFP should be able to keep subjects.

“Imagine all those drunk people that got arrested in a cell right across the street from you,” Whatley said. “You would be out drinking, having fun, and your friends would be chilling in a jail cell right down the street.”

Whatley said she disapproves of the building’s installation, and does not think the IVFP should receive funding from UCSB.

“I can’t even believe they are doing it,” Whatley said. “I can’t believe the university is putting money into it.”

Besides the holding cells, Linver said the building will provide more meeting space and parking, as well as the addition of sleeping rooms and female locker rooms.

“Right now, we do not have female locker rooms, so the women have to change in the closet,” Linver said. “We are also adding sleep rooms. Most of our staff doesn’t live in the area, so if they get off a shift at 3 a.m. and need to be in court by 8 a.m., this will give them a place to rest.”