Costs lower than expected for new St. Charles police station

 
 
Updated 7/17/2018 4:05 PM
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  • St. Charles aldermen approved bids for the exterior construction of a new police station at 1515 W. Main St.

    St. Charles aldermen approved bids for the exterior construction of a new police station at 1515 W. Main St. Courtesy of the city of St. Charles

Bids for the exterior construction of a new St. Charles police station have come in lower than expected, alleviating some concerns the project would exceed its $24.6 million budget.

The city council this week authorized a roughly $5.4 million bid package for the completion of the building's structure and shell, which includes the roof, glass, elevator, steel and site utilities. Also lumped into the exterior work will be precast concrete, for which aldermen approved a separate bid of nearly $1.2 million this month.

Those two measures give contractors the green light to begin construction on the 56,000-square-foot police station at 1515 W. Main St., the site of the former Valley Shopping Center, Police Chief James Keegan said. A groundbreaking ceremony, open to the public, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, and work likely will begin the first week of August.

The state-of-the-art facility will include a second-floor community room, a squad garage with a drive-in bay, a wellness center and a training room. Its modern layout with private and public uses makes it more operationally efficient than the police department's existing station in downtown St. Charles, Keegan said.

Project leaders had been trying to find ways to lower costs after initial projections came in about $3 million over budget, Keegan said. Staff members shaved off some expenses this spring by reducing the building's scope and finishes, but cost estimates remained higher than they hoped.

The project was able to get "back on track" when bids for the facility's exterior work came in about $1.25 million lower than anticipated, Keegan said.

"The savings we yielded from these bids favorably get us back to where we need to be," he said. "We're trending more toward a neutral budget, with the overall goal for it to be under budget."

In turn, the city was able to add some alternate options to the project, such as additional stormwater management, an upgraded roof design and some extra storage space, Keegan said. The bid package also includes the unexpected cost of removing underground storage tanks found during the shopping center's demolition.

The city is expected to solicit bids in October for the building's interior work -- the third and final project phase.

"Hopefully (we can) get the entire structure under roof by the first of the year so crews can work throughout the winter on all the interior finishes," Keegan said. "We're full steam ahead."

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