New public works and engineering building in Mundelein will cost $23 million

Construction of a new public works and engineering headquarters in Mundelein will cost $23 million, about $5 million more than originally estimated, officials confirmed Monday.

The price went up, Village Administrator John Lobaito said, because construction costs have risen "significantly" since the original estimate in 2015. Additionally, the first estimate didn't include complete architectural or engineering plans, Lobaito said.

Officials envision a 122,000-square-foot building at 801 Allanson Road, west of Washington Street. Part of the facility will use an existing 26,000-square-foot office building now occupied by a manufacturing company called Natus Medical.

Mundelein bought the roughly 3-acre Natus Medical property last year, and the company is leasing it. The lease expires this month.

The site will be combined with an adjoining 17-acre village-owned property to create the municipal complex.

Repurposing the Natus building instead of erecting something from scratch will save money, officials said.

In addition to remodeling the office building, an equipment storage building, a salt storage building and a fueling station will be built.

The village board on Monday authorized Lobaito to approve bids and execute contracts worth up to $23 million for various aspects of the project. Officials have not yet identified vendors.

Lobaito said he'll make an effort to hire local contractors.

"But the pricing has to be competitive or they won't be awarded the job," he said.

Village board approval will be required for individual services if bids come in greater than estimated.

Construction could start within a month. Officials hope to occupy the buildings in summer 2020.

The current public works headquarters is at 440 E. Crystal St., on the southern end of Mundelein's downtown district. Additional public works offices are elsewhere in town.

Officials want to leave the Crystal Street compound to free up the land for redevelopment.

Funding will come from a loan and water and sewer revenue. Neither property tax rates or utility rates will increase beyond current levels, officials have said, because loans that funded the construction of the town's police and fire stations about 20 years ago will be paid off this year.

Officials also are cutting projects from a 2020 capital planning list to raise money for the project. That didn't sit well Monday with Trustee Dawn Abernathy, who voted against authorizing Lobaito to sign the contracts.

Abernathy was particularly upset about plans to cut spending on downtown projects while still spending more money on a new park on Route 45, an effort she's vehemently opposed.

"I just don't think we're making good decisions," she said.

Only Abernathy voted against the plan.

Mayor Steve Lentz was enthusiastic about the project, saying the facility "will take this village into the next century."

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