New police building will bear Bob LeMone's name

Friday, August 21, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:14 a.m. CST, Monday, November 23, 2009

COLUMBIA — The new police training building, which should be finished next month, will be named in honor of the late Bob LeMone, a Columbia developer and former owner of Little Dixie Construction Co.

LeMone donated 2.5 acres for the building and his construction company did some of the work for free, saving the city about $500,000. The building, which will officially be named the Robert M. LeMone Building, the Columbia Police Department Regional Training Center,  is at 5001 Meyer Industrial Drive.

"Bob wanted it built," Craig Klein, project construction manager for the Police Department, said.

"In the final planning meeting shortly before he died, he threw in a $15,000 brick facade donation," Klein said. "It was his suggestion. If it weren't for that, we wouldn't have the nice brick columns and porch enclosures we do now."

LeMone, who died last year, always was fond of the Police Department and had many friends on the force.

"He respected what they did," his son Mac LeMone said. "And, although he donated to many organizations, he was never big on public knowledge of his benevolent activities. He just loved helping people."

Mac LeMone said Little Dixie Construction donated "thousands of dollars in masonry, time and planning" and worked with subcontractors to find the most cost-effective approach.

"We provided supplemental services such as computer rendering and modeling of the building as well as some other changes without additional charge," architect John Simon said.

Simon said one unusual aspect of the project was that it fell under both city and county building regulations. "In all my 25 years of practice, I had never encountered the unique challenges of satisfying the city as building owner on county land."

In spite of submitting to double inspection and regulations, the company was able to complete a substantial portion of the project by June.

"The building is utilitarian in nature and done efficiently for performance goals," Simon said. "We stripped it down to the bare bones and kept the concept of future growth in mind so that additions could be made easily if needed."

Landscaping and other finishing touches remain to be done, and audiovisual equipment, cabling and computers still must be added. The building includes conference rooms, classrooms and offices.

Most of the money for the training building will come from a quarter-cent sales tax for public safety projects that was approved by voters in November 2005. A dedication and open house is set tentatively for October.

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