Published in the January 18, 2021 edition.


WAKEFIELD — A laser scan survey of the Public Safety Building was completed last week under the auspices of project architect HKT, Shane Nolan of owner’s project manager LeftField told the Permanent Building Committee during a Zoom meeting last week. The laser scan will be used by designers to create models and drawings for the building expansion and renovation project.

Both Police Chief Steven Skory and Fire Chief Michael Sullivan said that the laser scan survey resulted in little or no disruption of daily activities during the 11-day process.

Geotech borings were done at the site on Jan. 6 and 7. Nolan reported that the borings revealed no issues and a full report will be forthcoming.

Nolan reviewed the overall project schedule with the Permanent Building Committee (PBC). He noted that the project is currently in the schematic design phase through early April. After the PBC reviews and approves the schematic design and budget in April, Nolan said, the project will move into the design development phase, which will continue through July.

After that, construction bid documents will be created over August and September. According to the current schedule, bidding would take place between Oct. 6 and Oct. 27.

The PBC will review the bids from contractors and prepare the Guaranteed maximum price (GMP) between Oct. 27 and Nov. 10. In mid-November, the PBC will choose a contractor and execute the GMP. Construction is expected to take 12 months.

Nolan also provided a detailed timeline for the process of choosing a CMR. He reported that the state Inspector General’s Office had approved the town’s application to use the “Construction Manager at Risk” (CMR) model for the project.

He said that LeftField will submit the CMR advertisement on behalf of the town to the Central Register, the local newspaper and CommBuys (the state’s online procurement website) by Jan. 21. The ad will appear by Jan. 27. Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) from CMR applicants will be due by Feb. 10, according to Nolan’s timeline.

A selection committee will review SOQs submitted and make a recommendation to the full PBC by Feb. 25 of at least three prequalified CMR applicants. Those finalists will be asked to submit more detailed SOQs by March 17. The PBC will review the SOQs and select a CMR by the end of March.

Regarding the project budget, Nolan said there had been no changes since the last PBC meeting.

The June 2020 Annual Town Meeting voted 196-17 to fund a $9.6 million rehab and expansion to the police side of the Public Safety Building.

When the Police Station was originally built in 1950, it offered 9,405 square feet of operational space for a police force of 34 officers and one civilian. There were 4,000 calls for service that year.

The size of the building has not significantly changed since then. The Police Department now has about 10,000 square feet of operational space for a department of 47 officers (plus support staff) that handled 18,900 calls last year.

A 2003 upgrade focused mainly on the Fire Department side of the Public Safety Building.

The 2003 project included a small addition to the rear of the police side of the building which houses the 911 room, boiler room, IT room and elevator room. Those rooms reportedly have water leaks and temperature control issues, according to police.

A 2017 study found that the overall building was undersized for a department the size of WPD. The study identified lobby access and safety issues, environmental concerns with the HVAC and ventilation systems as well as problems in the evidence storage areas.

The lobby is only manned during regular business hours during the week. At other times, walk-ins must pick up a phone to speak to an officer.

In the planned renovation and expansion project, dispatch would move from its present location on the second floor to the lobby, along with the Records Division, to make the Public Safety Building more user friendly for the public. There would be immediate 24-hour-a-day, walk-in access to an officer in an emergency, and privacy concerns for sensitive cases would be alleviated.

The layout of the building would be reconfigured to better serve the officers and utilize best practices. Prisoner security in the sally port would be upgraded and system upgrades would protect critical infrastructure.

The proposed project would create an additional 4,192 square feet of operational space, an increase of more than 40 percent. The increase in operational space would meet current needs and would allow the Police Department to grow and create space for additional support personnel.

The PBC approved two invoices last week related to the Public Safety Building Project.

A payment of $5,000 was approved for owner’s project manager LeftField and $9,252.50 was approved for architectural firm HKT.