The Arlington Heights village board toured the Palatine police station Wednesday as the village moves closer to rebuilding or replacing its own police facility.
The board on Tuesday approved a preliminary five-year capital improvement plan that includes a new or renovated police station that could cost up to $40 million, according to earlier estimates.
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Officials now are backing away from those numbers and exact dates of when the project might get under way, but they said they hope a new police station will be up and running by 2020.
"We are saying it's going to take longer than this five-year plan, six years is more realistic," Village Manager Bill Dixon said. "Firm costs related to the station cannot be known until we decide if we are constructing a new facility in that location, reconstructing on the current location or building a new facility somewhere else."
Officials toured the Palatine station, which opened last year, to get an idea of what could be included in a new facility. The Palatine station is more than 70,000 square feet and cost more than $20 million to build.
During this year's budget deliberations, Arlington Heights officials decided to hold off on the estimated $8.78 million that was needed to just maintain the existing station over the next three years, meaning a new facility will need to be built.
The current timeline shows the village deciding between reconstruction, rehabilitation and a new facility this year. During fiscal years 2015 and 2016, the village will develop a request for proposal for architectural services and begin designing the facility.
During fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the architectural design will be completed and the bid process will take place. Officials said construction would begin in fiscal year 2018 with the building being occupied by fiscal year 2020.
In 2008, the village hired FGM Architects/McClaren, Wilson & Laurie to conduct a needs assessment study for the police department. The study recommended a new 75,000-square-foot facility comparable to other area police buildings constructed in recent years. The current Arlington Heights station opened in 1978 and, according to the study, is overcrowded and deteriorating past safe use.
According to earlier estimates, the cost to construct a new police facility is $28 million, with an additional $10 million to $12 million in design, engineering, temporary relocation, demolition and other costs.
The village's level of debt is expected to decrease in the later years of the five-year plan due to other bond issues expiring. That means the village could afford the new facility through bonds and would not have to go to referendum for additional funding.
"Not one dollar is being spent on a new police station by us approving this plan right now," Village President Tom Hayes added.
There was debate during this year's election campaign about the need for a new police station, and residents have raised concerns about the possible costs associated with the project.
Because of this, Trustee Mike Sidor suggested that the village staff begin an educational campaign to let residents know why the police station is necessary and make sure the public understands the costs involved.