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Milton settles on combined police station/City Hall

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Neil Johnson
October 2, 2013

MILTON—After months of flip-flopping on various proposals to relocate the city's police department and City Hall, the city of Milton has found a plan and is sticking with it.

Tuesday night, the city council approved a $2.3 million plan to renovate the former Dean medical building at 710 S. Janesville St. as a police station and add a 3,000 square-foot City Hall.

The move came after Mayor Brett Frazier and city and police department administrators met last week with project engineer Angus-Young Associates and contractor Magill Construction to discuss options for a building retrofit that would fit the city's needs and its budget of $2.5 million.

A start date for the project was pushed back after Magill had put in the lowest construction bids for two versions of the project—an earlier version that included a police station and addition of a City Hall and a second plan to renovate the Dean building as a police station only.

Both bids came in high. The police department/City Hall plan, which the city bid out in August, came in $200,000 over budget. The police station-only plan came in this month $300,000 over the city's $1.75 million spending threshold for that version, according to city records.

The city bought the Dean building in 2011 with the intent to convert it to a police station to replace the current station on Parkview Drive, which is aging, short on parking and evidence storage and has roof leaks.

Tuesday, Angus-Young Project Manager Jim Tibbetts told the council that there was no way to shrink the scope of the police station-only plan, which he called “lean,” without substantially reducing parts of the building design.

Tibbetts blamed a recent, 20-percent cost increase for metal and drywall, which he said has come in part because of a recovery in the construction market. 

Instead, Angus-Young and Magill worked out a plan with the city to revert the project to a combined police station/City Hall that would meet the original project budget of $2.5 million.

Under the new plan, which the council approved unanimously, project designs would shave out one police cruiser parking stall from a planned add-on garage at the police station.

The new plan also eliminates a basement under the City Hall expansion that was designed for file storage in earlier plans. Instead, the city would co-op storage space with the police department in the existing basement at the Dean building.

Police Chief Dan Layber said the new project plan, despite having a smaller garage, fits the department's needs.

He said the most important design elements—evidence storage space in the basement and rooms for suspect questioning and police conference rooms—remain intact.

Magill Chief Operating Officer Steve Knudson said work could start on the project in the next few weeks with an estimated completion in May 2014.

The council earlier this year approved borrowing $1.8 million in bonds for the project. The remainder will come from cash reserves—spending that already is planned in the city's tentative 2014 budget, City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said.



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