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Modular plans scrapped for Hampden police station

Date: 5/28/2015

HAMPDEN – Plans to utilize modular space for the $2.95 million police station project have folded after bids recently came back more than $100,000 beyond the project’s budget.  

Police Chief Jeff Farnsworth said the increased cost is “not viable” and the project will go out to bid again as a “traditional” construction project.

“The [modular] designs weren’t really what we wanted,” he added. “They didn’t fit into the look [of town building aesthetics].”

Farnsworth said the idea behind using modular spacing was that it would be more cost effective, however, “this did not prove to be true.”

Board of Selectmen Chair Vincent Villamaino said the project would now be “stick-built,” and the square footage would likely remain the same. However, the design for the roof may change.

Farnsworth said the original plans were to utilize 6,300 to 6,400 square feet in modular space.

The project is anticipated to go out to bid again for a builder within the next couple of months, he noted. The original bid for the modular design, was opened on Jan. 20.

He added that the project’s anticipated completion date will not be known until after a builder is chosen, which would be sometime in the next 90 days.

The existing building was a former school that was constructed in 1932. During the 1960s, the Police Department moved into the approximately 900-square-foot location at 635 Main St.

 The new station would be located on town-owned land near the Hampden Senior Center on Allen Street.

Residents voted in favor of funding the project via a ballot question for a $2.95 million debt exclusion during the 2014 Annual Town Election.

The new police station will include a training room, a multi-purpose room, interview rooms, evidence and storage areas, a more adequate booking area, as well as offices for police officers.

The project’s architectural firm hired for the project is Kaestle-Boos, Farnsworth noted.

Villamaino said the project is greatly needed in the town due to inadequate space for officers and equipment as well as the safety risk of having prisoners being led through town hall to reach the police station.

“We’ve been way overdue on this for 20 years,” he added.