NEWBURY -- The venue for a joint meeting this week between the Planning Board and Conservation Commission regarding construction of a new police station was changed in order to make it accessible to all.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Firemens Memorial Hall, 3 Morgan Ave., because the elevator at the Town Office at Kent Way is temporarily out of service making it difficult for people with mobility issues to participate.
The meeting is to discuss an application to the Conservation Commission for a Notice of Intent to build the 9,590-square-foot facility, as well as a site plan review of the proposal by the Planning Board. The first step in the process to get the project properly permitted by local officials; the meeting will likely include input from the town’s peer review engineer, who has been working with the Police Station Building Construction Committee’s design team.
“We don’t anticipate any major hurdles at this point,” said Committee Chair Bob Connors. The joint meeting is also a chance for public input on the proposal.
In a letter issued to the Board of Selectmen, Jim Moran praised the work the committee has done in advancing the project.
“But I believe the location of the police station would be considerably more beneficial to the town if moved to the north end of the lot, rotated 90 degrees in an east-west longitudinal orientation with the back side of the police station aligned approximately with the back side of the existing fire station,” Moran wrote. He said the orientation as proposed would cause the building to “tower over the existing fire station, be an eyesore in the neighborhood, look out of place and be of questionable esthetic value.”
“Jim’s comments landed after the committee reviewed all site placement options -- which included the one Jim has proposed,” said Connors. In finalizing the building’s orientation, the committee took into account factors such impact on neighbors, existing wetlands, common parking for the police and fire personnel on election days, and stormwater management.
“Keeping the existing paving area reduced the actual increase of runoff -- which is a factor in drainage and retention design,” said Connors.
His committee anticipates only minor revisions to the plan at this point and hopes to go out to bid by late summer -- timing that Connors calls “critical.”
“Although the building committee cannot control the public bid process we have managed the design -component aspect of the project to value engineer building component costs in advance of bidding,” he said.
The committee is setting up the bid process with a base bid detailing tasks needed to obtain a certificate of occupancy along with alternative bids to cover upgrade items, such vinyl siding versus wood clapboards; loam and seeding versus full landscaping; and hot top curbing versus granite curbing. Bids to include an elevator in the project, as well as for exterior painting, a flag pole, and signage are also options for contractors to price out.
The committee’s budget estimates $4.8 million for the base bid; $350,000 for alternate bids; $900,000 for architectural and owner’s project manager services; $450,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment; and $250,000 for contingencies.
“The contingency fee drops dramatically as we close out construction drawings just before bidding,” said Connors.
“The alternate bid items and reduced contingency fee will keep the budget of $6.5 million achievable,” he said, noting that the bidding process is being timed to occur prior to the fall special town meeting so that voters will have a chance to consider alternate bid items if the base bid comes in higher than anticipated.
“The committee certainly recommends including all the alternate items but is mindful of our current budget,” said Connors.
Police Station Building Construction Committee’s meetings are typically held on the first and third Fridays of the month at 7 a.m. in the Town Office, 12 Kent Way.