SANDWICH – More than 70 firms have bid on the project to turn a vacant building into a new Sandwich police station.
Mayor Rick Olson and Police Chief Jim Bianchi said during a meeting Wednesday that they were pleased with the number of bids received. They said it would take some time for city, police and other officials to review the bids to determine which is lowest in each category.
Recommendations on which ones to accept will be made by Williams Architect of Itasca, the firm in charge of the design work, and Harbour Contractors of Plainfield, which will be in charge of the construction.
The city had been planning to build a new police station on land it owns on the Sandwich Fairgrounds, but then learned of the building at 1251 E. Sixth St., which had been vacant since 2009.
When city officials learned in 2016 that the vacant building was available, they visited it and immediately voted to buy the 14,000-square-foot building along with an adjoining 2 acres of undeveloped land for $480,000.
It was built in 2002 and closed when the original owners, Designed Stairs, a manufacturer of custom staircases, filed for bankruptcy when the housing market fell off.
Although vacant for several years, it had not been allowed to deteriorate, so the only work needed is to remodel it for police use, Bianchi said.
The present station at 308 E. College St., has been crowded for years and cannot be expanded, so a new facility is needed, Bianchi said.
Before buying this building, the city had planned to build a new police station on part of the 28-acre site it owns on the Sandwich Fairgrounds at an estimated cost of $10 million.
Remodeling the 17,000-square-foot building will cost an estimated $8 million or $300 a square foot compared with $400 a square foot for a new building on the Fairgrounds site, Bianchi said.
And this cost includes construction of an additional 3,000-square-foot building for prisoner booking and holding, evidence retention and other uses on part of the additional 2-acres of vacant land.
The building will replace a 60-square-foot area in the present police station, Bianchi said.
During the open house, Bianchi showed visitors where the telephone, electric and other wiring to the building had been brought into one room by the previous owners. He said the police department will be able to use the same conduit to install new wiring for its electrical, communications and other needs.
“This saves us from having to tear up the floors,” Bianchi said. “And the room is large enough to meet all the department’s needs, for years.”
In the case of a power outage, a generator donated to the department by the Sandwich Community Hospital will be able to provide more than enough power to take care of the entire building, Bianchi said.
The present police building will be used by the city’s water department, which owns the building, Olson said. He said the city has not decided on how the renovation will be financed.
“Once we get the real numbers on the cost, then we can decide,” he said. “We have many options on how it will be paid for and how long it will be financed.”