Police station project, now $5.6M, returns to Brunswick Town Council

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BRUNSWICK — The Town Council will get another look at the proposal for a new police station Monday night after the Police Station Building Committee unanimously recommended the latest plan Tuesday afternoon.

The committee agreed on a new budget of $5.6 million, down from the original proposal of $7.2 million, but up from a $5.2 million estimate in May. The new figure includes the addition of a sally port and an alternative heating system, both of which added to the base figure.

With the new proposal, as presented by Jeff Shaw of Donham & Sweeney Architects, the building footprint remains essentially the same as the original proposal, with minor changes to building materials to cut costs, a measure that elicited concern from Town Councilor Sarah Brayman.

Brayman said she was concerned that the building would be less efficient than the town originally hoped. Shaw assured the committee that what they are getting for the money maintains a high level of efficiency.

“We were overjoyed that we were able to get as much out of the project as we did, while maintaining quite a high level of design quality,” Shaw said. “We didn’t decrease the quality of any interior materials or the exterior materials. We changed some materials, but we didn’t decrease their quality.”

The new proposal cuts about 6,000 square feet from the building, mostly from perimeter walls and a training room, but includes high-performing windows, an item that was on the chopping block.

The committee voted to add the $142,000 sally port by a vote of 9-1, with Councilor John Perreault dissenting, and a $38,000 variable refrigeration gas-fed ventilation system, also by a vote of 9-1, with Perreault again in the minority.

Shaw also presented the possibility of using metal roofing versus asphalt shingles, because the metal roof has a 50-year warranty, compared with 30 years for shingles.

“My preference lies on the longevity of the system,” he said.

Discussion around the roof centered on the color of the roof and snowfall. Ultimately, the committee voted 7-3 against metal.

The use of pervious or impervious pavement in the police station’s parking lot – an item the committee does not have to decide for several weeks – generated significant discussion.

Committee members said the use of pervious pavement presents the town with more challenges than it is worth at no reduced cost.

“I spoke with (Director of Public Works) John Foster and he feels that it can certainly be used on the site, but he doesn’t feel it’s needed on the site,” citizen representative Rita Worthing said. “(Foster) has real concerns about the maintenance of it; the town is not equipped to do the maintenance of it and he feels with the town’s poor record on maintenance, it would be hard to keep that up.”

The pervious pavement requires quarterly vacuuming, and the use of sand and salt is not permitted during the winter. Committee members raised questions over how to keep the sand and salt from the roads out of the parking lot and how the surface could be best maintained given the town’s capabilities.

Ultimately, the majority of committee members were uncomfortable with the pavement surface as presented to them.

“I just think we’re possibly opening a can of worms using a product that may work, but it may not and then the question becomes, if it isn’t working, then what?” said citizen representative Bernard Breitbart. “That becomes a problem because then (the porous pavement has) negated its whole purpose.”

The committee asked Curtis Neufeld, vice president of Sitelines PA, to come back with a proposal for the parking lot that would meet the current zoning requirements of the site at no additional cost. They also asked that whatever method he suggests be supported by “experts.”

The committee unanimously voted to recommend the council approve the designs and costs as presented at the meeting. The Town Council will hear the recommendation at its meeting on Monday, June 18.

Amber Cronin can be reached at acronin@theforecaster.net or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter: @croninamber.

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