The town of Garner is likely to have to pay more than it expected on a new police station.
Representatives with ADW Architects addressed town council Monday about its initial proposal to turn former medical offices into a police station. That plan estimated the cost of the project at $4.5 million, but revised estimates now put the cost at about $4.69 million, a nearly $190,000 increase in the cost of the project over what town officials projected in the bond referendum. After discussion, the council decided to go green, and to look closer at ways to get new cost estimates back down to the preliminary $4.5 million budget.
ADW will likely also design the new town hall – like the police station, funded by the March 12 bond referendum. The bulk of the discussion at Monday night’s council meeting centered on the budget and the level of environmental consciousness of the project.
The town listed $4.5 million on the bond as the cost to turn offices at 912 Seventh Ave. into a new police station. ADW’s new estimate put it at $4.686 million. That increase stems largely from rising construction costs and increases sometimes found by a more detailed study.
It does not include new environmental costs to make the building sustainable and efficient. ADW presented two options on that front: pursuit of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification and a “green build.” LEED would add about $177,000 to that cost estimate. A “green build,” which ADW posited as having the sustainability benefits of LEED without the official title, would cost about $88,000.
“Frankly I’m not a big fan of LEED. Spending a bunch of money just for something to brag about,” town engineer Frank Powell said.
The town council agreed, coming to a consensus to do the green build. ADW estimated a roughly $70,000 electricity and natural gas bill on the station, which sustainability improvements could cut by 20 percent. That means a “green build” could pay for itself in 5-10 years, as opposed to 10-15 years for LEED certification.
“We get the benefits of the design, but without all the paperwork,” councilman Buck Kennedy said.
Kennedy, an architect himself, noted the thoroughness of the ADW proposal, which itemized each and every service. “I’ve seen a lot of contracts, but I’ve never seen one quite so thorough,” he said.
The town will look more in-depth in the coming two weeks before the next council meeting to determine what cuts could be made. Councilman Gra Singleton noted he wanted to know what exactly he was voting on given the a la carte proposal.
The firm, like the town, wanted to get an idea of the budget restrictions to better know available resources.
“You have to make decisions,” said Keith Carlyon, project manager and senior associate at ADW. “Do you impact the function by reducing square footage (from proposed add-ons to the existing buildings) for the police department, or do you….maybe save on some other things?”
The firm said the town would like the police department to move in by spring of 2015, a deadline Carlyon called possible, but tight. The firm intends to work on the master plan for the overall campus while the town considers options, uniting the public facilities in a similar architectural theme.
“The idea was to have sort of a cohesive master planning effort to come up with the language for materials, design styles that will help tie this project together,” Carlyon said.
The town bought the property for about $900,000 last summer – well under a third of its tax value. It intends to place all police facilities there before beginning on a project to rebuild what it regards as a cramped town hall as part of the $12 million public facilities bond approved by voters in March.