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Police station speeds ahead

City council approves construction contract

by: CITY OF WEST LINN - The project plan for the new police station still includes preserving the mature black walnut tree that is on the site, which was planted in 1917. The tree will be near the new station's front entrance. The city council voted Monday to award a $5.25 million contract to Todd Construction for the construction of the new police station.

The 3-0 vote marked the end of an unexpected second bidding process, after the first bids in June came in well over the city’s construction budget. Council President Mike Jones and Councilor Jenni Tan were absent from Monday’s meeting.

Though Todd Construction’s official bid of $5,383,898 was also above budget, the city council determined that — with some changes suggested by project manager Bob Galante and already approved by Todd Construction — the final contract could be whittled down to an acceptable $5.25 million.

“We tried to do everything in the best way,” Galante said. “And we had to back off some things. ... There’s lots of little things that we’re changing, probably a hundred of them. And it all saves money.”

With the contract officially approved by the city, Galante said construction should begin at some point next week.

The project first opened for bidding June 5 and attracted five bids ranging from $5.9 million to $6.5 million.

The city, however, had only budgeted for a maximum of $5 million in construction costs, and thus was shocked to see the lowest bid come in substantially higher than its spending limit. In response, the city council voted June 17 to reject all bids and rebid the contract — a process that was expected to delay the project by about two months.

Indeed, the project was reopened for bidding earlier this month, and bids were opened Aug. 13. In the time between the first and second bids, Galante and a design team led by the Group Mackenzie architecture firm worked to alter or eliminate certain items from the station and trim the final budget down.

The sally port addition to the station was eliminated, and certain bidding restrictions were removed to allow more prospective contractors into the process. Galante and the design team also built in five “alternate” items to eliminate within their new plan, in case the second round of bidding was still too high.

Those alternates included LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and commissioning — listed as a top priority when the council discussed the matter in June — as well as the skylight on the roof, the lower part of the carport canopy and certain methods of constructing the site’s walls and coursing patterns.

In the end, Galante recommended removing the skylight and eliminating changes to the walls and coursing patterns, which knocked $147,215 off of the final bill. Further savings would be found by waiving up to $350,000 in city systems development charges — which the council agreed to do. The project will still pursue LEED certification.by: CITY OF WEST LINN - Construction of the new police station in West Linn could start as soon as next week.

In a memo to City Manager Chris Jordan, Galante also noted that “this strategy still requires reduction in furniture, storage equipment and other building systems.” However, as part of its overall budget of $8.66 million, the city has built in a $425,000 contingency fund that could be used to purchase more furniture or storage equipment once construction is finished.

Smaller details aside, West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus remains convinced that the new building will be a significant addition to the department.

“The building will be state of the art,” Timeus said. “It will meet our needs probably for the next 40 years, both in growth and technology. And there’s room to add technology in the future.”

The current police station was built in 1936, and, according to Timeus, it is no longer equipped to serve the department adequately. He said the new station will improve efficiencies and make the officers’ jobs easier.

The building will be located on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 13th Street, and was originally targeted for completion in late spring of 2014.

The project is the result of an $8.5 million general obligation bond measure approved by voters in November of 2011. The West Linn Planning Commission approved the necessary conditional use permits for the project during its meeting on Feb. 20.

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