BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
A feasibility study for a new police station in Beaumont will soon be underway.
At the July 20 Beaumont city council meeting, the city approved a professional services agreement with Irvine-based LPA, Inc. to conduct overall planning for a potential police station, including elements such as space planning needs based on projected population growth, site visitations of similar facilities to gather ideas; conceptual designing, and construction cost estimation.
LPA was selected from seven finalists that responded to the city’s request for proposals.
According to Assistant City Manager Kristine Day, LPA was the firm that “could best meet the needs of the city,” and the firm even lowered an initial bid of $167,000, which they dropped by $10,000 during the vetting process.
The agreement approved Tuesday was a $157,010 professional services agreement that also authorizes the city manager to handle any change orders up to $20,000, for a combined contract of $177,010.
Depending on the visitation process to check out facilities in other cities and gather ideas and information, Day predicts the feasibility study could be completed within six to seven months, with something for the city council to consider signing off on by spring 2022.
Mayor Pro Tem Lloyd White wanted to confirm that station is intended to be built off of Potrero Boulevard, and wanted to clarify, since the fire station is to be built there as well, “Isn’t that going to be a joint police and fire station?”
Day explained that the fire station has already been designed and will be going out to bid; properties are “adjacent to each other, so we’ll make sure it serves as much as we can a public safety complex, but the buildings will not be the same,” Day said.
White was curious as to a timeframe for the new fire and police stations to be active.
Day explained that, as for the fire station “We’re hoping to be bid here shortly,” hopefully by late fall. Tuesday’s action was just for the feasibility study to kick off the process of planning for a new police station, which will require the city to determine what the funding needs will be in order to begin construction down the road, Day explained.
Councilman Julio Martinez wanted to know “What’s the typical length of time between a feasibility study and going out and actually getting schematics drawn up?”
Methods of funding are up to the city, Day responded.
Day told Martinez that she anticipates such a project to cost $20 to $40 million depending on the building’s size.
“That’s a significant amount that we’re going to have to determine how that funding is provided for,” Day said. “It’s not something that we have specifically slated today.”
Martinez wanted to know whether data from this year will still be applicable 10 to 15 years down the road when the project may get underway, and costs may have shifted.
Day said that a feasibility study would likely have to be updated at that time.
“At a minimum, this should give you adjacency” and “ultimate buildout of construction square footage — all of those things can still move forward,” Day said, suggesting that a feasibility study approved this year should still be relatively viable in 15 or 20 “because you won’t know what you need to fund without doing it.”
Councilman David Fenn was curious as to whether the city would likely want to build in phases and “add on as needs arise,” or try to build it all at once.
Day indicated the council would be offered several options which would be cost-inclusive.
“I’m always hesitant to build part of a building, because you could quickly outgrow it,” said Day, who would recommend the city at least build the shell of the portion of building that initially might not be used.
Fenn also wanted to know whether the current police station headquarters would be kept as a satellite station.
Day said that it was something that could eventually be discussed.
City Manager Todd Parton said that the existing police station may be demolished or repurposed.
Mayor Mike Lara made the motion to approve the professional services agreement with LPA, which received unanimous support from his colleagues.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , and messages may be left at (951) 849-4586 x114.