December 24, 2012

Winslow police station expansion nears completion

Early hurdles cleared, but cost overrun of $106,000 expected

By Ben McCanna
Staff Writer

WINSLOW -- Expansion of the police station is nearly complete, and there have been no more glitches like the ones that plagued the project in its early days.

click image to enlarge

Art O'Brien, left, and Richard Hjort work on the Winslow police chief's office on Thursday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Gerald Saint Amand, chairman of the Town Council, said construction workers have been busy installing wallboard, cabinets, countertops, ceiling panels and more.

"At the moment, I'm kind of nervous, because things are going fairly well," he said.

The project is scheduled to wrap up about Jan. 14, and there have been no cost increases since early October, when the council authorized the town to borrow more than $100,000 for code upgrades to the police station, the fire station and Town Office. When the project is complete, the police station will be double its original size.

The construction project will cost the town $734,000, about $106,000 more than originally planned.

Saint Amand is a member of a project oversight committee that was formed in September in response to planning errors that stalled the project for nine weeks. The committee includes the town manager, the public works director, the code enforcement officer and resident Ben Murray.

Saint Amand said the committee was a good idea for this project, and similar committees should be formed for any future municipal construction projects.

"It turned out to be a very good way to catch things before they happen or take care of things right away," he said.

Gary Peachey, owner of Peachey Builders, agreed the project is going well and said there have been no more surprises. He said Winslow police will be pleased with the new station.

In July, the Police Department moved out of its home of 30 years and into temporary quarters upstairs in the fire station. Construction of the addition's foundation began in mid-July, but a few weeks later the state issued stop-work orders because the contractor hadn't applied for a building permit from the state fire marshal.

Then, after reviewing the plans, the fire marshal required the town to include project upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Life Safety Code.

The construction site was idle for more than nine weeks -- from August to October -- while the builder, the architect and the fire marshal revised the blueprints to satisfy the code requirements. During that time, the fire marshal determined that the Town Office and fire station, which are attached to the police station, also needed code upgrades, including a fire-suppression system.

The town had the option to defer some of the upgrades over the next two years, but most are under way now. A requirement to create a handicapped-accessible entrance to the Town Office -- estimated at $10,000 -- will be done later.

Peachey Builders has agreed to a completion date of Jan. 14. If the work isn't finished by then, the town will charge the company $1,000 for every additional day.

Ben McCanna -- 861-9239

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