Town sees bids to build new police headquarters

FRONT ROYAL – Bids to build a new home for the town’s police have come in  higher than expected but a special program should cover the cost.

Front Royal received four bids to construct a new headquarters for the police department. The town plans to build a facility on land at Kendrick Lane and Monroe Avenue that once served as a parking lot for the former Avtex Fibers plant.

Town officials opened the sealed bids Thursday. Bids were submitted as follows:

• $7.73 million from Dustin Construction of Ijamsville, Maryland

• $7.8 million from Lantz Construction Co. of Winchester

• $7.86 million from Howard Shockey & Sons Inc., of Winchester

• $8.26 million Keller Brothers of Mount Airy, Maryland

Town Manager Joseph Waltz said Friday that the lowest bid exceeds the most recent construction cost estimate of just under $7 million. Architects and town officials in March worked with a total estimated cost of $9.3 million that included $6.9 million to build two structures and perform site work, Waltz recalled. Other costs would include information technology,

The bid amounts represent only the construction phase of the building itself and do not include furnishings, information technology and other costs, Purchasing Agent Cindy Hartman said in an email.

Moseley Architects, the firm selected by the Town Council to design the project, now plans to review the submissions and see if they complied with the bidding requirements to “compare apples to apples,” Waltz said.

Moseley and town officials plan to bring the bids to a council work session for further discussion about the final cost and the next steps, Waltz said.

“Once we get into the bid, we may be able to pull some things back,” Waltz said. “We just don’t know until we get a further evaluation of it.”

Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jennifer McDonald said in an email Friday that the New Market Tax Credit program covers the project cost. The EDA received confirmation earlier this summer that several local projects qualified for funding through the program.

The town began looking at potential sites for the facility in late 2012. The process accelerated a couple of years later when ceiling tiles in the former police department building fell in an office area and exposed asbestos. The town entered into an agreement with Warren County to lease the former Sheriff’s Office space made vacant since the agency moved into the new public safety building.

In late June 2015, the council approved Moseley Architects’ proposal to design the project for a cost of about $490,000. At the time, the town worked with an estimated construction cost of about $4 million. The town used the traditional process of hiring a firm to design the project and then seeking bids from interested companies.

The town has spent $488,584 on the project to date, Finance Director B.J. Wilson said.