McMinnville officials voted to spend $1,945 Tuesday night for a comprehensive analysis regarding building or renovating for McMinnville Police Department.
The decision was made during a joint meeting of Building and Grounds and Safety and Finance. On the committees are Aldermen Junior Medley, Rick Barnes, Billy Wood, Clair Cochran and Vice Mayor Everett Brock.
Information obtained will include a cost review for building a new facility or renovating the old Warren County Furniture building, as well as a determination if the existing structure is sound.
After two building sites were proposed — behind the Blue Building and on an empty lot on Main Street — officials requested more accurate construction numbers that began a debate on cost.
Since discussions began about a possible move and building rather than renovating, the ballpark cost was set at $100 per square foot with a minimum of 8,500 square feet needed, which were numbers presented by city administrator David Rutherford.
However, Greg Brock of Apex Construction Services sent his “best guess” to the city and he put the cost at between $125 and $150 per square foot, which he based on cost data that suggests it would be between $172 and $184 per square foot.
“Obviously the cost is totally dictated by design and site location,” Brock said.
During Tuesday’s meeting Rutherford stood behind his numbers.
“I still stand by $100 a square foot or less,” Rutherford said. “I don’t want to give out exact numbers. We would have to bid this out and that might cause an unfair bidding situation.”
AEI Architects, Engineers and Planners will do the analysis for $1,945. AEI is the same company that has done cost analysis projects for the city in the past.
“I think $1,900 is a small amount to pay to find out what construction costs are compared to renovation,” said Vice Mayor Brock.
Rutherford says the Blue Building, which seems to be under consideration for renovation in public opinion, will not be included in the analysis. It already had one.
AEI did an analysis on the Blue Building in 2008 and placed renovation cost at almost $87 a square foot. The administrative wing, which does not include the auditorium or gymnasium, is 39,260 square feet and renovation cost would be in excessive of $3.4 million. To renovate the entire building would be in excess of $6 million.
AEI’s recommendation was against renovation.
“After inspection of the subject property, and a review of the local real estate market in the city of McMinnville, it is the opinion of the appraiser that from a business perspective, it would not be financially feasible to renovate the building,” said appraiser Willim A. Haston Sr. in the report.
The building was rated as fair to poor condition with structural problems, severe termite damage, insect and rodent infestations, and water damage. The report noted overall it appeared to have many deferred maintenance and age-related problems.
“If you do any renovation, you have to do it all,” Rutherford said Tuesday night. “You can’t go in and do a partial floor.”
Cochran says she would be interested to hear from McMinnville Police Chief Charlie Sewell regarding his thoughts on the proposed sites, as well as response times from each.
When given the floor, Sewell spoke out against the last site proposed.
“Warren County Furniture building is totally inadequate,” Sewell said. “It does not matter if it is 10,000 square feet or 5,000 square feet. The parking is just not there.”
Sewell says the closest parking lot would not only be down the street, but across it. Parking on the street is also limited for visitors and those attending court.
“For an officer to have to run down the block and across the street to get to a police car is ridiculous,” Sewell added. “Uniform cars need to be right outside the door so we can get to them. I can’t give you an exact figure on what response times would be.”
Brock asked for a motion to spend $1,945 for a comprehensive analysis.
“I would like to know if that building is structurally sound,” said Cochran. “However, if the police department doesn’t support the idea of renovating that building for them, I don’t support it.”
Medley, Barnes and Brock voted for the measure, while Cochran voted against it. Wood was absent.
It will take two to three weeks for the analysis to be complete.