The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is considering moving some operations from Bozeman to Four Corners to free up space in the Law and Justice Center, a building county officials have long said is insufficient for their needs.
Sheriff Brian Gootkin told county commissioners Monday he is interested in purchasing the Zero In Indoor Shooting Range, a 25,000 square-foot building that sits on 6.5 acres near Jackrabbit and West Baxter lanes.
Bozeman Brokers has listed the property for $5.5 million.
Gootkin and the commissioners plan to visit the site in the coming weeks to determine the cost and the extent of the remodeling that would be needed before the sheriff’s office could move in.
“It seems like a perfect fit, but we want to make sure it is economically viable,” Gootkin said.
The sheriff’s office has yet to decide which operations would move to Four Corners, but they could include the patrol division and the coroner’s office.
The sheriff’s office would also be able to use the shooting range on the property instead of traveling to the Logan range and would likely open the facility to other law enforcement agencies.
Gallatin County Search and Rescue, which is working to expand its operation with funding from a new voter-approved tax increase, could also have a presence at the Four Corners property.
Gootkin’s proposal to purchase the property comes after voters rejected a $59 million bond issue for construction of a new Law and Justice Center, which would have replaced the existing building on South 16th Street and housed the sheriff’s, coroner’s and county attorney’s offices, as well as the district and youth courts.
The county has discussed a new Law and Justice Center for years. In 2014, voters turned down a $68.3 million bond issue for a joint city-county building. The city and county discussed a shared building again in 2018, but the city ultimately decided to build its own public safety center.
“I think (the proposed purchase) shows the public that we’re adapting and we’re adjusting,” Gootkin said.
“They sent us a message last election, and this is a good option to be able to lessen our footprint, which means less square footage going before the public if the Law and Justice Center is brought up again.”
The county commissioners have said they don’t plan to bring a Law and Justice Center before voters again and have set aside work on the project in favor of other priorities.
The partial relocation of the sheriff’s office, along with the city of Bozeman’s move to its new public safety center, would free up space in the Law and Justice Center for county services.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it sets the stage for us to move things, possibly,” said commissioner Joe Skinner.