New police facility predicted to be over budget

The new police facility planned for the City of Lacombe is already anticipated to be over budget.

The new police facility planned for the City of Lacombe is already anticipated to be over budget. City councillors received an update on the design progress of the facility earlier this month.

Council directed City administration to tender the project using a cost estimate and to utilize a portion of the 2014 budget surplus to meet the anticipated funding shortfall.

“I am pleased that council is allowing the estimated $391,600 overage to be funded from the projected 2014 budget surplus, as it helps meet our objective of attaining the 25-year usable life of the building while demonstrating financial prudence,” stated City of Lacombe CAO Norma MacQuarrie.

Development of the project began in March 2014, with the formed Police Facility Design Committee touring four police facilities within the province. A section of land in the Wolf Creek Industrial Park was also selected as the location for the new facility. A design consultant was selected to begin the process.

Through the City’s 2014 and 2015 budgets, a total of $8 million was set aside for the facility.

The initial estimate of $8 million was compiled in 2007. After more design refinements, a new cost estimate was crafted based on completed architectural drawings and totaling $7,818,000.

The Police Facility Design Committee, identifying the importance of accurate cost projections, collaborated with the Lacombe Police Service, architecture and design firm to reduce costs in areas where possible, all while ensuring the facility will suite the future needs of the police service, officials said.

“Wherever possible, we found cost reductions to assist in this project,” said MacQuarrie. “It certainly is reflective of what is to come.”

Cost reductions were made by minimizing the number of cameras, revising generators sizes, eliminating exterior storage areas and reducing the number of interior walls, among other architectural tweaks.

With all the reductions, cost savings of $500,000 were realized, bringing the new estimation for the construction of the facility to $7,307,000 for a project total of $8,391,600.

Although the cost is not set in stone, council’s endorsement was required to utilize the 2014 budget surplus towards the project.

“I commend the Police Facility Design Committee for a job well done in keeping our overall budget in mind when the cuts to the facility design and keeping the increasing costs within the five per cent range,” said Mayor Steve Christie. “I’m also pleased that council recognizes the importance of this state-of-the-art facility to our community.”

MacQuarrie said the project will be sent out to tender at the end of April with construction anticipated to start shortly after.