November 13, 2012

Winslow police station work reveals fire station concerns

Discovery of double ceiling could complicate project, as contractor presses for January finish

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Staff Writer

WINSLOW -- The construction of a police station has overcome its rocky start and is now ahead of schedule, Town Manager Michael Heavener told the Town Council Tuesday night.

The council at Tuesday's meeting also briefly discussed and then retabled a proposed fireworks ordinance when it became clear there weren't enough votes to pass it as written.

Councilor-at-large Kenneth Fletcher said fireworks complaints to the police department have declined since the height of summer, when there were 36 complaints. He said repeatedly that the current ordinance, which would allow fireworks on weekends and during key holidays, wouldn't address complaints, many of which he said come during those times.

Councilor Catherine Nadeau, District 2, said that action must be taken by the council before an anticipated spike in use around the new year.

"We need to take some kind of step so that the people complaining know we're doing something for their benefit," she said.

The board voted 4-3 to table the issue, which was initially tabled in August.

While reporting on the police station project, Heavener said that a double ceiling was discovered in the adjoining fire station. He said he's not yet sure what the discovery, which was made earlier on Tuesday, might mean for the project.

The status of the fire station and the Town Office have an impact on the project because both are in the same complex and must include upgrades to come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Obviously, there should only be one ceiling there," Heavener said. "Otherwise, we have to put in double sprinkler systems."

He said he planned to inspect the double ceiling, which was found above the sleeping quarters in the station, today to decide which ceiling should stay. Heavener didn't say whether the discovery would affect the total cost of the construction project, which has risen from an original estimate of $638,000 to a recent updated estimate of $734,000.

Contractors have been racing to finish the project since Oct. 9, when a nine-week hiatus necessitated by permitting requirements came to an end. If a Jan. 14 project completion deadline is not met, the building company must pay the town $1,000 per day until the work is complete.

The construction work started in mid-July, but was stopped for more than two months by order of the state when it was found that the contractor, Peachey Builders, hadn't applied for a permit from the fire marshal.

About $60,000 in code updates required by the fire marshal's office, some of which were needed to comply with the federal act, were absorbed by Peachey.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287

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