The Homer City Council got its first look at preliminary design plans for a new police station Monday. The council contracted Stantec to design a rough $6 million layout in August, but the design firm came back with both an $8 million and $6 million option.
A task force recommended building a $6 million or $9 million dollar building at the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue earlier this summer, but the council has focused on the cheaper option due to concerns over the cost of maintaining a larger building.
Police Chief Mark Robl worked with Stantec during the design process and said he was shocked by the initial price tag.
“You know the memo that I sent to them was asking for 7,700 square feet, and I had no idea it would jump up to 12,500 when they added on what they considered to be essentials and things,” Robl explained. “So, I was very surprised at that, but we worked with it and got it down to the $6 million figure that you requested.”
Robl and Public Works Director Carey Meyer worked to reduce the building down to a single story and 9,500 square feet.
Council member Heath Smith was upset over the additional work, but Meyer told the council reducing the size of the layout didn’t substantially increase the design cost, which was estimated to be about $12,000.
Smith has been a big proponent of reducing the project’s cost, citing a $12 million bond proposal that failed in 2016, but council member Donna Aderhold said the council shouldn’t disregard the more expensive option.
“I don’t want to throw out the $8 million [option]. The work has been done, and I think we need to talk about it,” she said.
The council will discuss the new designs further during a work session on Nov. 27. The council has also revisited the idea of converting the HERC building off Pioneer Avenue.