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City looks to limit spending on police department at $2M
Police department.jpg
McMinnville Police Department has been located on Red Road since November 2009. City officials want to keep the cost of a new headquarters around $2 million.

City officials are prepared for a struggle to keep construction costs for a new McMinnville Police Department headquarters in the $2 million range.

It appears AEI Architects, Engineers and Planners will take the design reigns of the new headquarters asAEI president Peter Metts sat down with members of the city Safety Committee to discuss the project.

AEI is currently overseeing Cookeville’s new police station, which Metts described as “an elaborate project” consisting of two stories and a basement at 47,000 square feet. Cost is $14 million.  

McMinnville officials want to spend a fraction of that amount.  

“The only thing I would like to make sure of is that we keep this within a $2 million range,” said Alderman Everett Brock. “It’s incumbent upon us to keep it in that area. It doesn’t have to be dead on, but $3 million is not going to work.”

Proposed is construction of a one-story building with basement, opposed to a two-story structure, to avoid ADA regulations that require elevators in all two-story buildings. 

“We just have to keep it within a $2 million range,” said Brock.

Metts replied, “I hear you.” 

However, the city’s plan to eliminate an elevator by utilizing a “basement” might not work. 

“It depends on what we put in the basement,” said Metts. “If it’s a service that we need to access that’s independent of either floor, we would need to seriously consider an elevator. If we lay this design out in a way that an elevator is not required, it would still be very smart for us to carve out a spot where we could install one at a later date. To make those provisions now would be best.” 

Mayor Ben Newman asked about the feasibility of obtaining what’s needed on a $2 million budget.

“Police departments, depending on their needs, can generate ridiculously high unit costs,” said Metts. “If we can contain those, we stand a good chance of doing that. We are building a project now with similar construction. Probably within 45 days we are going to have a really good target and a good gauge.”

City administrator Bill Brock suggested AEI generate a list of items McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton wants that will not fit into a $2 million project,

Alderman Kate Alsbrook asked how the spending limit was determined.

“Why are we saying $2 million?” asked Alsbrook. “I don’t feel like that’s a realistic number.”

Alderman Brock, as Finance Committee chair, said his calculation on if the city could afford a $10 million Civic Center project were based on the police department being $2.5 million or less.

“We’ve talked about $2 million for the last two or three years,” said Brock. “I’m just trying to keep it that. All the other calculations that I made, looking at the budget and talking about $10 million for the Civic Center, were based on a $2 million to $2.5 million project.”

Also unknown at this time is AEI’s cost for designing the project. 

“The way we handled Park Theater was a minimal amount on the front until we got the project approved,” said Metts. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to look at what our fee was on Park Theater and then we’ll discuss if that’s an affordable dollar amount.”

Safety Committee members gave approval for AEI Architects, Engineers and Planners to begin working on a design plan for consideration. Board of Mayor and Aldermen approval is required.