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Police station under budget

Al Edenloff | Echo Press Work on the new Alexandria police station is progressing nicely, and is now under budget, according to the city's management construction firm. It will be completed next summer.

More than $230,000 has been trimmed from the cost of the new Alexandria police station, putting the project under budget.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council reviewed a set of 21 alternate bids and "value engineering" items that were approved by the city's building committee, design team and its construction management firm, ORB Management.

The new police station is being built near the new county jail along 3rd Avenue West and is expected to open next summer.

The changes, amounting to $231,769, will cut the cost of the project from the initial $5.33 million that was awarded in bids to just under its budget of $5.1 million, a 4.3 percent reduction, according to Mark Kragenbring with ORB Management.

The largest cost saving, $59,080, will come from a shifting of city funds. Money from the city's stormwater utility fee will help cover the cost of pavers.

Council member Sara Carlson said the city's stormwater utility committee wants the pavers to serve as a "showcase" of what can be done to ease runoff.

Other major cost-saving measures of $10,000 or more include: $43,020 for a change in the electrical bid; $25,460 for eliminating plywood on block walls for roofing; $20,467 to switch the type of garage door entrance; $16,425 to use pervious pavers instead of porous asphalt; $12,550 to delete the screening material around mechanical equipment; and $11,812 in the form of rebates from Centerpoint Energy and Alexandria Light and Power.

None of the changes will compromise the integrity of the building, Kragenbring said.

Kragenbring also updated the council on the police station's contingency funds. Of the $150,000 the city set aside for the initial site work phase of the project, $12,398 was left over. This was added to a second $150,000 contingency fund for the actual building of the facility.

To date, only about $7,500 of the $162,398 in the fund has been used and the building is progressing rapidly, said Kragenbring.

"Things are really going smooth," he said.

The project is about five days behind schedule because of the rain that slowed the early part of the construction, Kragenbring said.

During the public comment period later in the meeting, Virgil Batesole of Alexandria said that transferring money from the stormwater utility fund and calling it a decrease in the police station budget didn't seem right.

Batesole, a former member of the stormwater utility committee, also questioned why $59,000 from the fees was being used for police station pavers when it could have fixed areas in the city that are prone to flooding, such as an alley between Jefferson and Kenwood Street.

The council thanked Batesole for his comments.

In addition to the police station changes, the council addressed several other topics at Monday's meeting, including: a request to close 2nd Avenue for Christmas in the Fort; a subordinate mortgage loan request in The Trails development; extending the land lease for the Runestone Area Education District at 817 Fillmore Street; vacancies on the city's cultural inclusiveness committee; and asking the public to help name a new park area near 50th Avenue South.

More council news will be printed in Friday's Echo Press.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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