Long-Awaited Police Station Addition and Renovation Set to Begin Next Month

An architect’s rendering of the Bedford police station ~ Courtesy image (c) 2021 all rights reserved

 

Work on the long-planned police station addition and renovation is expected to begin in early November.

Facilities Director Taissir Alani said the Select Board approved the construction bid at its meeting on Sept. 13.

Alani emphasized that during construction, “the building has to remain open and operational.” There are plans for an alternate dispatch area if necessary because of construction noise, he said.

The project consists of a pair of two-story additions totaling 5,100 square feet as well as 4,300 square feet of renovated space.

There were four bids, and the lowest was submitted by New England Builders & Contractors, Inc., of Methuen at $5.9 million. The other three bids all exceed the approved expenditure of $6.4 million.

Alani said he recommended the low bid. “We know this contractor very well,” he said, as New England Builders executed other significant town projects – Town Hall’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing overhaul, and an addition to Job Lane School.

Alani said he expects the contractor to begin staging for the police station work in October, and aims to get the steel installed and framed by winter. The hope is to finish the work by the spring of 2023. “We have a phasing plan, and will work out the details with the general contractor,” Alani said.

Chief of Police Robert Bongiorno outlined the project’s improvements. “This new building will eliminate all of the deficiencies from when we moved in. It will meet our needs for the next generation.”

The highlights include:

  • A state-of-the-art evidence and property room. The department has had to apply for waivers in recent years when accrediting the conditions for property and evidence, the chief said.
  • A new armory, a room where weapons can be cleaned and, with ammunition, stored. Chief Bongiorno laughingly labeled the current arrangement “prehistoric.”
  • A state-of-the-art training and community room designed “to meet 21st century technology demands,” the chief said. “That will allow us to incorporate more training in the building instead of outsourcing it, to host training, and send our officers for free. It really enhances our training opportunities, and we hope the community can use it as well.”
  • A larger roll-call and break room. “It will really give us more work space and expanded capability to handle roll call,” which takes place three times a day, the chief said. “The 21st-century policing model really highlights health and wellness, so this will be a workout space for the officers, and will expand the men’s and women’s locker rooms, which are really obsolete. Most of the officers store their gear at the department, and we have so much equipment nowadays.”
  • Mechanical systems are “beyond life-expectancy,” the chief said, so this is an opportunity to incorporate heating and cooling systems that are aligned with the town’s Net Zero timetable.
  • Additional office and storage space.

“The two additions will be in keeping with the historic character of the area,” Chief Bongiorno said. “We really worked hard to deliver a good product to the community.”

Alani noted that—consistent with the Historic District Commission’s requirement—the facade style of the building will not be changed. There will be some redesign of the front so it no longer resembles an entrance – which it was when the building, known as the Stearns Memorial, served as the Bedford Free Public Library from 1952 to 1968, then later as the Town’s administrative offices.

The current path will be relocated, along with the sculpture that was dedicated as part of the town’s observance of the American Revolution Bicentennial. The artwork will be moved to a corner of the lawn, where benches will be added.

The project also calls for an alternate exit for police vehicles. A one-way roadway will be built on the east side of the building. Bongiorno said the second means of egress is “just good police operations.”

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763.


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