East Lyme Selectman Paul Dagle points during discussions of police complex schematics at a Tuesday night meeting (Credit: CT Examiner/McDermott)

East Lyme Officials Approve Outlines for One-Floor Public Safety Building

EAST LYME — Town officials on Tuesday night approved a schematic design for renovation of the former Honeywell Office building into a police and public safety complex. The architects will next prepare a detailed design to take out for bids in the next few months.

The schematic designs from Silver / Petrucelli + Associates divided costs into four sections — a basic plan and three supplemental additions that might not be included in the final plan. The base schematic design is estimated to cost about $1.7 million, funds already approved for the renovation.

Selectman Paul Dagle, who chairs the committee tasked with making recommendations about plans for the building, emphasized throughout the meeting that all renovation costs are estimates until the town chooses a bid from a contractor.

“As we go to the bids we’ll see how much money we can save based on the contractors and if they’re hungry for the work,” he said during the meeting at East Lyme’s current Emergency Operations Center at 171 Boston Post Road.

The schematics approved Tuesday would confine police, fire marshal, and emergency operations entirely to the first floor, and communications equipment in a single room on the second floor of the two-story building.

In three supplemental schematics presented Tuesday, the architects included rough cost estimates for three parts of the project that have not yet been included in the final design.

The first is for a sally port and detention cells at cost of about $733,000. The second is for an elevator cab at cost of about $119,000. The third is for structural upgrades typically required of police buildings, at a cost of about $243,700.

The committee has said that an elevator would likely not be necessary for a one-story building, and they’re considering asking state building officials for an exemption from the requirements for the structural upgrades.

Depending on the committee’s recommendation, Dagle and First Selectman Mark Nickerson have said that the Board of Selectmen may ask the Board of Finance for additional money for the sally port and detention cells after seeing bids from contractors.

“Our job is to say what everything is going to cost and let the elected boards decide what they will pay for the building,” Dagle told the committee.

The committee made minor changes to the architects’ schematics before voting unanimously to approve additional funding for more detailed construction plans. In one revision, the committee asked the architects to ensure the police building included a public bathroom accessible from the lobby.

Architect William Silver also recommended, and the committee agreed, that the designs should include five handicapped parking spaces.

Silver and his associate Brian Cleveland passed out hardcopy versions of their proposed schematics to committee members Tuesday night. They said they would take the final changes made by the committee at the meeting, create a PDF of the final schematics, and then begin work on more detailed construction plans.

If all goes well, Silver estimated that the project could be completed in time for the East Lyme police force to move into the building in the summer of 2020.

“This is pie-eyed and optimistic for sure, but we could be in by July or August if everything clicks the way that we’re showing here,” Silver said.

Dagle added shortly after this that “like the estimates, this is not a set-in-stone schedule. This is an identified, ballpark schedule… It’s just to give us an idea of what we’re looking at it. July, August, September, some time in the third quarter of the year.”

Dagle said Tuesday that he and the architects would be meeting with town staff to get their reviews of the architects’ designs before anything goes out to bid. 

Before the committee adjourned, they voted to plan their next meeting for December 3.

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