Home USA News The cost of Lacey’s new police station could climb to $52 million

The cost of Lacey’s new police station could climb to $52 million

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A rendering of the new Lacey Police Station.

A rendering of the new Lacey Police Station.

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The cost of a new Lacey police station, which the city plans to build on a wooded lot north of City Hall, has exceeded previous estimates and could now cost as much as $52 million.

The latest estimate was shared with the Lacey City Council on Thursday by Bill Valdez, a partner at KMB Architects of Olympia.

A preliminary design for the police station was put out to bid in January 2021, with a preliminary construction cost of $29 million, but costs have skyrocketed over the past two years, a combination of inflation-related increases and supply chain problems caused by the pandemic, Valdes said.

And he added that he is at the top of the Western Washington construction market, which is already more expensive than the national average.

The new construction estimate is $38 million with an additional $13 million in soft costs, putting the total cost of the project in the $49 million to $52 million range, he said. The city previously announced that the preliminary total estimate was about $40 million.

Soft costs include the cost of managing the project, inspecting it, moving to the new building and buying fixtures, furniture and equipment for it, Valdes said.

The project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2024 and last for about two years. He warned the board that the schedule delays could add $260,000 to $300,000 in additional costs per month.

In light of these additional costs, Councilman Lenny Greenstein asked if the project could start earlier. Valdez said his team will investigate the schedule collapse.

Despite the higher estimate, Greenstein added that the city should move forward with the project.

“The thing is, it’s a project we have to do,” he said, reflecting on a recent public tour of the current police station, which is attached to City Hall.

“I don’t think we’ve given a tour to a single person who disagrees that this is a project that needs to happen,” Greenstein said.

The current station was built in 1985 with a staff of about 30 people, including police officers. The police station now has about 80 employees and operates in a space that has grown to only 18,000 square feet from 15,000 square feet in 1985.

But how does the city pay for it? The original plan was to go to the voters and get a property tax increase for the bond issue.

However, City Manager Scott Spence has recently recommended a different path: not going to the voters, but instead having the council approve the bonds and pay them off with a combination of existing revenue and reserves.

But now that there is about a $10 million gap between the previous estimate and the new estimate, Spence offered to discuss the funding again. He recommends the city borrow between $15 million and $17 million.

“It doesn’t change our course, but we need to look a little deeper into the reserves,” he said.

Rolf has been with The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the newspapers. Rolf graduated from Evergreen State College in 1990.

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