Out with the old and in with the new.
The Abilene Police Department construction project moves forward with an estimated finish date in April of 2022. While the city has debated for years on how to give the police department a newer space, 2021 became the year that the city accepted construction bids and started working on the new police department.
2021 discussion wrap-up
While the city discussed receiving bids on the construction project in February 2021, Abilene Police Chief Anna Hatter stated in a report that the first floor of the city hall does not meet the needs of the department.
During the discussion about the construction, former Commissioner Chris Ostermann and Mayor Dee Marshall raised their concerns about moving forward with the large project.
“My thought is, this is a lot of money to be spending right now during COVID and not know for sure what is happening to us,” Mayor Dee Marshall said. “I think that is something that should wait a while.”
With a 4-1 vote at the Feb. 22 commission meeting, the city approved moving forward with receiving bids for the construction project. Former Commissioner Chris Ostermann voted against the estimated $445,000 project.
During the June 7 commission study session, Marsh presented the five bids that the Bruce McMillan Architects obtained for the construction. The lowest bid came from Riley Construction Co., from Wamego, for $411,065.00 and the commissioners approved it on the June 14 commission meeting.
Construction for the new police department started in October and the estimated finish date for the department will be in April, according to City Manager Ron Marsh.
The second floor of the city building previously acted as the Abilene Parks and Recreation space, which allowed for the architects to turn the large space into more office space and a training room for the Abilene Police Department.
“Anytime you can upgrade a facility it just kind of breathes a new life into the department and gives them a sense of ownership,” said Marsh during the June 14 meeting.
While the bid approved was $411,065, the city did see a change in cost over since the start of the construction.
“Yes, there have been some cost adjustments associated with the remodel,” Marsh said. “These have been anticipated and manageable.”
The biggest challenges the city faced with construction came with the general age of the utilities and the space.
“Outdated HVAC and electrical wiring; general deterioration from years of not keeping up with maintenance and improvements,” Marsh said.
While the city building belongs to the historical register, which creates certain guidelines for building updates, the State Historical Preservation Organization have assisted the city with construction plans.
With construction over their heads, the city building staff can not wait for the construction project completion and for the Abilene Police Department to finally step into their new home.
“I’m excited for the PD to get this new space and allow them the room to grow,” Marsh said. “I’m also excited for those before me that have worked hard to make this happen.”