$400,000 added to Stillwater PD remodel

The price tag for a police station expansion project underway at Stillwater City Hall just went up by $400,000, due to unexpected costs.

The long-anticipated project expands the police station, located on the lower level of city hall, into the space formerly occupied by the fire department. It also includes miscellaneous improvements to city hall. The entire project was expected to cost $2.1 million.

“As is common with remodeling projects such as this, we too have discovered existing conditions as we have worked through construction,” Community Development Director Bill Turnblad wrote in a memo to the city council. “Most of them have been resolved through value engineering and cutting costs elsewhere in the project. However, we have now encountered several situations that cannot be funded by re-allocating other budgeted work.”

Additional costs include re-roofing the former fire station; replacing rooftop electrical conduits; additional expenses for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE); information technology infrastructure and equipment; and additional contingency funds.

Of those items, the re-roofing is expected to cost the most, at $132,000.

“We had hoped, when we did the first round of budgeting, that the roof on the older part of the fire station would give us a couple more years of service,” Turnblad said. “As mechanical work on the roof was being done, it was discovered that, that’s not the case. A good rain, and everything inside would get wet — we’d have failure of the roof, so it needs to be replaced.”

In addition to the roofing problems, crews discovered electrical wiring conduits that were installed on top of the roof have deteriorated over time, and the wiring needs to be brought inside at a cost of $40,000.

The FFE needs are expected to cost about $153,000, instead of the $50,000 originally budgeted, adding $103,000 to the cost.

“The police department is re-purposing everything they can, in terms of furniture,” Turnblad said. “Some of it just will not function in a new space.”

IT will require and additional $72,000. The original $40,000 budget only covered the installation of cabling. It fell short of creating the actual work stations needed, Turnblad said. The additional funds will pay for computers, printers, monitors for security cameras, and other items needed for the department to function in the new space.

City staff also requested $40,000 in added contingency funds in case other needs materialize.

“As we open up walls and move things around in the current police station, we’re not sure exactly what we’ll find,” Turnblad said. “The biggest worry, really, is that … we may have to remove some asbestos.”

The city will pay for some of the new costs by delaying $211,000-worth of capital projects planned for 2017. Turnblad said those include “a long list of things that can be put off for another year or two.”

The remainder of the funds will come from reallocating money collected through debt levies in 2016 and 2017. Those funds were originally collected to make debt payments on the St. Croix Valley Rec Center, but the city discovered it could make those payments with money from an existing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. That freed up the debt levy money to be applied to other debts. That means it can reduce the overall amount of debt issued in 2017.

“In other words, the net result of this not only covers [the additional project costs], but also reduces the anticipated amount of borrow that we had anticipated for 2017,” City Administrator Tom McCarty said.

The city council approved the additional project funding unanimously April 4.

The remodeling project is expected to be complete later this year.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]