PRINCETON — A renovation of the Princeton Police station is set to start before the end of the year. A pre-bid conference this week at the station outlined project details and supplied bid information.
Anita Kerr of J. Patrick Kerr Architects Inc., presented building design information and answered questions. Police Chief Chris King and Mayor Dakota Young also attended and were available to answer questions.
The police station currently occupies the old City Hall. The fire chief and Public Works superintendent previously held offices there until this spring. Kerr and Princeton officials have partnered on the Princeton Police Facility Renovation project since 2015.
Kerr estimates — based on current construction costs — renovating the police station will be an $850,000 investment for the city.
Kerr noted the availability and accessibility of building materials, labor force, and the number of bids will ultimately determine the project cost. The designed occupancy load of the renovated facility is 50. The building area’s footprint is 5,000 square feet, as outlined in the building plans.
Kerr Architects are the designers of the original City Hall building.
“It looks like we’ve got a pretty good interest in this project,” Kerr said during the conference. “It’s going to be a good inside job to have this winter.”
She said the floors are going to be stripped to the concrete and vinyl composite tile will be laid down.
“We’re basically taking it down to the concrete and the studs,” Kerr said.
She said some of the lumber may be salvaged to be cost-effective and more competitive. The original insulation is not adequate for energy codes, she added.
Contractor questions touched on warranties, asbestos, lead testing, fire-treated wood, and project timeline.
“They want to expedite this as quickly as possible once they make up their mind to go,” Kerr said.
Kerr informed the contractors the department is relocating to another facility in Princeton to set up satellite offices and quarters.
“The first Monday in November is our next council meeting, and if everything looks good, I’ll present it to the council then to approve bids and we can move forward,” Young said.
The availability and cost of building materials was a topic of discussion that received significant attention. Lumber and steel prices have increased, according to contractors and Kerr.
After the conference, King said the police station renovation is beneficial for the department and the community.
“The police department, in my opinion, is the face of the city,” he said. “You are going to come into contact with a police officer more than you are anybody at city hall, or the fire department, or any one of the others.”
He said some of the notable upgrades to the facility are showers, a kitchen, locker room, training room, and new evidence room.
He said he hopes the renovation will facilitate recruitment efforts as well, adding the department is operating with 15 officers, one of whom is preparing in the academy.
He said the department needs three additional police officers to meet full-staffing capacity.
“The main thing is just to give them a nicer place to work with enough room to get the work done,” King said.
Bids are expected to get turned in Oct. 28. Officials said seven general contractors have received plans for review.