WILBRAHAM – The proposed new police station could end up costing a little more than $9 million after the project’s estimate was made public during the Police Station Building Feasibility Subcommittee’s Feb. 23 meeting.
Interim Town Administrator Thomas Sullivan told Reminder Publications the cost of construction is estimated at $7.3 million.
Other costs that factor into the overall $9 million include the purchase of a site and payment for an operational project manager.
“If Town Meeting agrees to it, we’re going to use $950,000 of stabilization money [and] $750,000 of free cash,” he added.
If a Proposition 2½ debt override were approved by a referendum at the May 16 town election, the cost to taxpayers could be $5 million, Sullivan said.
“The only thing we don’t have in this total is a maximum amount for the building [site], which is $425,000,” he added.
The preferred building site is 2780 Boston Road. Negotiations for the purchase of the site with the property owner, Helen Moore, are anticipated to begin shortly, Sullivan said. The two alternative sites are included in the rough estimate. Once negotiations end, all alternative site costs would be removed from the estimated and be replaced with the final site cost.
“Neither of us has a crystal ball,” he added. “The U.S. [government] just raised all the prices of their materials by 20 percent at the beginning of this year. That’s included in this cost.”
McElravy emphasized “managing the budget every step of the way until we get to bid day.”
The Board of Selectmen appointed members to the Negotiations Committee at its Feb. 23 meeting, which includes Subcommittee Chair Roger Fontaine, Sullivan, and Subcommittee member RJ Chapdelaine.
Board of Selectmen Chair Robert Russell told Reminder Publications an article was also added to the warrant regarding the police station project.
Fontaine said the proposed facility is estimated to be 16,436 square feet.
“We’re only going to do it one time,” he added. “I think we have to look at what we might define as the final square footage. I also think we should be mindful of the functioning, structure, building, that gets us 50 years down the road.”
Chapdelaine said building a police station doesn’t give “enough wiggle room” as opposed to constructing a residential building because the program elements of the building are vital, which makes it harder to cut square footage from the design.
McElravy also presented an updated design for the building, which displays a more traditional New England look with a brick layout. Several subcommittee members noted that the design looked similar to town hall.
Eliminating the brick design might also reduce the cost of the project by a small portion, McElravy added.
“Everything we put out has to have answer as to why and its ability to change or be a part of the function versus just adding the price,” Subcommittee member Edward Rigney said.
The subcommittee is scheduled to meet on March 3 to review the cost estimate further.
“I would recommend that we meet next week [and] put the questions out there,” he added. “If we decided that we have to cut square footage, then we got to know what we’re doing sooner than later.”
McElravy said it could take four to five months until the project goes out to bid, pending approval by residents.
“I would try at great haste to see if we can get it out in early fall,” he added. “That way we can get some work started before the weather sets in next year. You wait too long into the fall and you might as well wait for spring.”
State Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr., while touring the existing police station on Feb. 24, said the need for a new police station is “critical” not only for residents but police personnel.
“As the chief was telling me, there’s a lot of issues relative to evidence, storing types of evidence in the past, and really today’s technology with the way it is,” he added. “We need to make sure that everything is protected as we move up the chain of command.
“The reason for this is to showcase the problems currently here at the station and to find out what can I do on the state level to assist as we move forward,” Puppolo continued.