by Terry Rogers
At their Mon., Jan 10 meeting, Milford City Council voted unanimously to allow Richard Y. Johnson, the construction management company for the new police facility, to send out bids for the new building. After the Police Facility Citizen’s Oversight Committee agreed to send preliminary designs to council last week, council authorized the next step in the process.
“Through the meetings we discussed one of the most important understandings was what the look and feel of the building should be,” Brenden Frederick of Becker Morgan said. “We presented three slides to the committee who ultimately talked about texture and style. We like the architectural historical style and a Georgian colonial look that is most akin to your library, so that was kind of the pathway. The committee discussed the subtle differences in the stone, the type of portico which the front entry can be.”
Several items that were in the initial design phase, including a maintenance and evidence storage building, will be included in the bid as alternate bids. City Finance Director Lou Vitola explained that the reductions were necessary to keep the cost of construction as close to $14 million as possible in order to allow for site preparation and other costs that could add to the cost of the building. Because the city’s bond issuance is only for $20 million, construction must remain at or below that amount. Any overages would require an additional referendum.
“When we met a few months ago, we were talking primarily about hard construction costs,” Mike Svaby, Director of Public Works, said. “The mayor made it clear that we aren’t going to change course and have a project that was above and beyond what was put out to the constituency earlier. So, we went back and reviewed all the specifics of design. It’s not out of the ordinary to have design costs in the early stages that are a little high. So, we progressed to the design costs earlier and got to the point where we made more particular design decisions. RYJ stepped in and did their job. We are at about $13,400,000 in hard construction costs.”
The Citizen Oversight Committee was provided with several drawings depicting what the station may look like when it is completed. One version had recessed bricks with porticos while two others removed the recessed brick and used other methods to offset the areas. The committee overwhelmingly agreed to submit the design with coining along the edges of the front of the building. Chief Kenneth Brown asked if it was possible to add a railing above the portico as well.
“I want to go on record as saying tha the mobile storage, which is our evidence storage, while we can work out other ways of reducing that to eliminate it, I don’t think it is an option,” Chief Brown said. “We need to do something there. I think we are running in bare bones as it is. We didn’t account for a place to store our ammo inside this building because we were planning on putting it in the outside building. So, this building doesn’t have a lot of storage space in it. I think we were counting on a lot of things being outside.”
Svaby explained that it is possible the bids will come in lower than estimated or that the alternate costs may be low enough to include but moving those items to alternates made it less likely the cost would be higher than the city wanted for hard construction costs.
Committee member Gloria Markowitz asked if selling the current police building would result in funds that could cover the cost of the evidence building.
“It comes down to cash and what cash you have on hand,” Mark Whitfield, City Manager, said. “Obviously, we would not have that cash in hand to be able to pay for the maintenance building because we are still using the old police station. Now, again, what we can do if we sell the police station, we can offset the bond in the amount of money that we make and pay it back earlier with the proceeds of that sale.”
Council voted unanimously to send the construction of the new police station out for bid. All bids will be read publicly at the Public Works building and council will vote on the bid award at a future council meeting.
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