BATAVIA — The city has talked for years and had a few studies done that have not led to any changes, but now that it has a feasibility study on a 19,000-square-foot new police station, the city will look for price quotes.
City Manager Rachael Tabelski said at Monday night’s City Council special conference meeting that the next step would be for the city to put out a request for price quotes for architecture, engineering and surveyors and bring that information back to Council along with a bonding resolution in December.
Tabelski included a list showing that a city police facility history going back about 30 years. The 2021 feasibility study is one of several studies, condition reports or discussions on City Hall renovations or a police facility.
Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he was glad Tabelski included this history.
“It’s been going on so long that now we’re spending $10 million for a building that, if we would have built this six, eight, 10 years ago when they originally talked about it, it would have been just a few million — $3 million maybe $4 million. Every time they (past City Councils) came up with a price, they would decide to spend tens of thousands of dollars on another study and they would turn right around and try to say, ‘Let’s merge,’ ‘Let’s eliminate,’ ‘Let’s become one police department,’” he said. “There wasn’t public support for that. There wasn’t the ability to make that happen. It wasn’t feasible and it wasn’t cost-effective to do that.”
“We’ve got to take care of our own backyard. We can’t just dump this on the county and say, ‘We’re leaving and you guys (have) got to support our police department now, because we’re not going to have one.’ That would be not a good thing to do.”
Monday’s study was presented by Ken Pearl of Architects Unlimited.
THE BUILDING includes a 50-year-old boiler system, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said. The main entrance is used by everyone — staff, the public, victims, juveniles, witnesses, sex offenders, etc. There’s no elevator for the multiple-level building.
Upstairs, in the men’s locker room, there are heating and cooling issues because the downstairs is not occupied, but is used as a storage location, he said.
“There’s no shower or restroom in the men’s or women’s locker room. The walls are deteriorating, the windows leak — clearly in need of repair,” the police chief said.
In the department’s briefing area upstairs, the roof leaks as well.
“The exterior as a whole is in very poor condition. The windows are old, some of them don’t open. There’s no central air for the majority of the building. Heating zones are inconsistent,” Heubusch said.
Pearl said the study was solely focused on whether a new police station could fit at the space at Alva Place. If it could, what would be involved?
To answer that question, it was determined four basic criteria needed to be met, he said:
n Could an adequate amount of public parking could be saved so it could be used by neighboring businesses or agencies?
n Could enough secure parking for the department be created within a wall or fence system?
n How much underground, public infrastructure will the project have to deal with?
n Do project developers leave themselves enough options to go through a design and engineering process and would a viable project come out of that?
The study found that the project could save an adequate amount of public parking.
“We have to reconstruct it. The parking lot pitches, collects water, snow melt, things of that nature,” Pearl said. “We spent some time studying how those businesses are using the parking and we’re confident we would have plenty of parking left over.”
For secure parking for the department, there would be an area on the drawings with a short wall and gate. The area behind the wall and gate would be for police parking.
“We do have enough options to design a building,” he said.
The drawings show a public entry at Alva and Bank streets. Pearl said the idea is to have a public parking area near the front of the building an move the police secure parking to the back. About 115 public parking spaces would remain. There would be 30-plus parking spaces in the secure area.
All programming the department requires would fit into a 19,000-square-foot building area.
THE ESTIMATED overall cost would be $10.8 million. About $8.8 million would be for basic building site work and $2 million for professional fees.
Pearl mentioned an alternative proposal for a $2.65 million structural steel secure parking roof to shield the secure parking area from the elements.
Pearl said the project schedule would take the city to about the end of 2023.
“That $10.8 (million), is that if we were to build tomorrow?” asked Councilmember Paul Viele asked.
“That would be if you’re going to bid in about a year,” Pearl said.
Viele asked if prices of materials would go down eventually.
“We’re hoping,” Pearl said. “The way the market is, we’re basing it on the market now.”
Tabelski asked whether pricing for the project, pre-COVID, would have come in around $9 million, if everything else was equal.
Pearl said, “This building, ballpark, is 19,000 square feet. Three-and-a-half years ago, I finished a 19,000-square-foot police station in a town only 50 miles away. That $8.8 million number now, compared to then ... we were about $5.7 million three years ago.
ON THE CURRENT police station, Tabelski noted there was a memo about a resolution to use $50,000 in facility reserve funds to replace the flat roof above the rear vestibule and rear addition, which are beyond repair. The leaking roof is over 30 years old.
“Over the weekend, we got new numbers and the cost is $100,000, so you have a replacement request to replace that roof,” she said. “There is other big items, like the boiler system, but, at this point, we’re trying to put as little as possible into that facility, but keeping the employees safe and healthy before we can move into a new station, which I think, with this site, and with our capacity to borrow, is the right move to make.
The Council approved the roof replacement project.