Wednesday, March 12, 2014
WATERVILLE -- City Councilors will vote tonight on a final budget for the police station project during a special meeting.
An artist's conception of the proposed Waterville police department.
The cost to build and equip a new police station at Colby Circle is estimated at $3.4 million, which is an increase of about $800,000 from an original construction-only estimate. At least one councilor has said he will not support the higher amount.
Meanwhile, excavation of the site -- which is next to the U.S. Social Security Administration and Waterville District Court buildings -- enters its second week today.
City Manager Michael Roy said the excavation and foundation work was earlier approved by the council for $500,000 in hopes that the work would be completed before colder weather set in.
If the council votes down the $3.4 million budget, the action won't necessarily thwart the work that is already under way, Roy said.
"I think it's highly unlikely that they're going to change the building's dimension or anything to do with the site work. What might change is stuff that goes inside the building -- reductions in furniture and fixtures, things like that," he said.
The original estimate of $2.6 million is more than two years old, Roy said. Several things have changed since then, including the addition of an architect and furniture.
For instance, the new budget includes about $200,000 for dispatch consoles, furniture and evidence lockers.
The plan also calls for a 1,000-square-foot expansion of the building from 11,000 square feet to 12,000. The original plan didn't incorporate spaces for corridors and stairways, Roy said.
"We didn't have an architect on board at that point, so we were coming up with these square footage estimates and construction estimates without the benefit of anyone helping us," he said.
Also, construction costs have increased about 14 percent, Roy said. In 2010, the estimated construction cost was $190 per square foot. Two years later, the cost rose to $217 per square foot.
Councilor John O'Donnell, D-Ward 5, has said he will not support $3.4 million for the project.
The proposed police station has been the subject of more than two years of debate and hand-wringing. A site committee looked at several possible locations for the station, including Head of Falls, which ultimately was the panel's choice. Members of the public, however, spoke out against that location for various reasons, including its proximity to railroad tracks.
Roy said the city spent $75,000 on site searches.
The special meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.
Ben McCanna -- 861-9239