A remodeling project at the LeClaire Police Department could begin in the coming weeks after city leaders accepted the low bid for the work.
The LeClaire City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a bid from Reed Construction LLC, DeWitt. The firm, which had the low bid of $245,000 for the police station renovations, was among six firms to submit bids.
LeClaire Police Chief Shane Themas said city staff will put everything into temporary storage "to make the work environment as easy as possible for the contractors."
Construction crews will do minor demolition, including removing some of the walls of the former condominium space, as well as building new walls to make the police station a more workable space, Themas said.
The police station, located in the former Buese Auto building at 306 S. Cody Road, had been office space on the ground floor and renovated for two upper-floor condominiums before the city eventually bought it in 2003.
Themas and his staff have made the space work, but many of its features are not designed for police functions or an office environment. Themas and his supervisors office in what were four bedrooms, two working kitchens and four bathrooms — one with a Jacuzzi.
The project will include new flooring, a new ceiling, painting, new doors and a records/evidence room. Other work will include new heating/air conditioning, new lighting and the addition of an ADA-compliant restroom.
"It's a pretty significant remodel," Themas said, adding "It's definitely going to be a benefit to the community. It will help us be more efficient."
Reed Construction not only was the low bidder, but it was one of two bids that provided a 90-day window for completion. The highest bid, he said, had estimated a construction schedule of 270 days.
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City Administrator Ed Choate said the city has been looking into its options and working the project into the city's Capital Improvement Plan for the past two years. The most recent development included an agreement with neighboring BlackHawk Bank & Trust to acquire some of its parking in order to expand the station's available parking.
The architect's estimate for the total project was $500,000 including the construction, land acquisition, equipment and architectural fees, but city leaders hope to come in below budget.
"The (construction) bids came in amazingly low," Choate said, adding that on top of the construction costs is another $80,000 for new furniture, evidence lockers, equipment, technology and security cameras.
During construction, Themas said his staff will work out of a makeshift space in the two rooms located behind the public lobby. "We want to make sure there is no interruption of service to the public as we remodel," he said.
In other business, the council:
- Discussed adding language — at the city attorney's suggestion — to a new no-camping ordinance that would allow the council to set the fine for violating the ordinance through resolution.
The council approved the new ordinance in September as part of the city's levee regulations. The issue arose after LeClaire saw an inordinate number of recreational vehicles pulling into its levee parking this past summer and staying for multiple days.
Council members also discussed setting the fine at $100 fine for violators. Choate said the council will vote on the proposed new language and the fine amount at its Dec. 2 meeting.
"We need a fine that's high enough that id doesn't make sense (for the camper/RV owner) to say 'That's the cost of camping for the night," Themas said.