Smaller police station proposed
BRUNSWICK — A substantially smaller building, simpler design and the removal of a community room are among modifications proposed by architect Brett Donham to bring plans for a new police station closer to the $5.5 million budget demanded by a town committee.
Donham, of Donham & Sweeney Architects, returned to the Police Station Subcommittee on Tuesday with revisions to initial plans he presented on March 21.
At the time, Donham said building a station based on the design presented March 21 would likely cost $7.2 million, causing committee members to request that he shave almost $2 million from the project.
On Tuesday, several committee members objected to the changes Donham proposed in order to bring that cost down. They lamented what they said was time wasted designing what turned out to be a building they discovered they couldn’t afford.
Reducing the building size from 26,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet; modifying the shape to a simple rectangle; reducing the efficiency of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system; and eliminating a tower and detailed masonry work are among the changes Donham proposed.
To shrink the proposed blueprint, Donham said he “nipped and tucked,” including eliminating one holding cell, a two-bay garage for boats and boat trailers, and cutting a proposed community room.
Brunswick police administrators said they would be able to work in the redesigned building, although Chief Richard Rizzo lamented the loss of a community room that would be accessible to the public.
“The station as it’s been redesigned is still a fully functional police station,” Deputy Chief Marc Hagan said. “We would not have an issue working in this station as it’s currently designed.”
But even as one committee member still questioned whether “we’re all on board” with the same $5.5 million budget number Donham had been directed to meet, several questioned the modifications he made to allow them to reduce the plan to meet that number.
Among their concerns were the proximity of the food preparation area to the roll call room and the width and height of the sally port.
Town Councilor John Perreault, a member of the committee, said he didn’t understand why the public couldn’t have access to the roll call room, but Rizzo said it would contain sensitive information, such as wanted bulletins.
Town Councilor Sarah Brayman also questioned whether the building would still meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards — Donham said it would — and worried that eliminating some of the outside details would make it less of a “gateway” building, noting, “I would like dressing up the building to not be the last thing on the list.”
At one point, committee member Bernie Breitbart wondered whether moving the roll call room into the building’s basement would allow space for a community room, prompting Town Manager Gary Brown to take the podium and caution, “We ought to do everything we can to keep the functions of the police department out of the basement. It’s been there 50 years.”
Finally, Town Council chairwoman and committee member Joanne King reminded the committee, “We just told him he has to cut things. We can’t tell him he has to add things.”
After nearly two hour of discussion, committee member John Donovan suggested that, with the town slated to take possession of Bowdoin College’s McLellan Building in 2014, the committee should “not have (the police station) try to be all things.”
While the new building design might not include all the elements committee members originally hoped for, Ed Knox said, “My main goal is getting a station.”
He told committee members that he warned them at two separate meetings that they would not be able to afford to build a tower, “and maybe I was not forceful enough ... you all wanted to add things that I said you can’t afford.”
“I think as we go through this, you will see quite a few things that are not as nice as (the previous plan), and those are the decisions you are going to have to make — or increase the budget,” he said.
Donham said he expects to return with a final design on May 12 and present a final cost estimate to the committee on June 12.