Front Royal plans to spend up to $490,000 to design a new police headquarters expected to open in 2017.

The total cost to build the project won’t be known until the town receives bids from construction firms. Town Manager Steve Burke said Tuesday that officials are working with a $4 million estimate for the construction cost. Officials will evaluate the updated cost estimate during the design phase. Once a firm estimate is developed, the town will look at funding options, Burke said.

The town is working on the project using the traditional process of designing the facility, putting the work out to bid and then awarding a contract to a construction firm. Town Council opted to not pursue the project through the Virginia Public-Private Educational Facilities Infrastructure Act through which firms submit proposals to design and construct such projects.

Town Council voted last week to approve a proposal from Moseley Architects for the design in an amount not to exceed $489,606, with a notice to proceed effective today. Town Manager Steve Burke said Tuesday that the notice to proceed had not yet been executed.

Moseley will design a facility to fit on a 5.24-acre site on the east side of Kendrick Lane, between Monroe and Adams avenues. The land is within the former Avtex Fibers site and the town bought the property from the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority.

Moseley has proposed a two-year design, bid and construction schedule.

The Front Royal Police Department is leasing space in the former Warren County Sheriff’s Office headquarters. Council recently had to extend that lease when it appeared the town would need more time to select a design firm and move forward with the next steps in the process.

Council’s action came months after members considered proposals from several design firms. Council conducted most of its work on the matter in closed session before deciding to approve the contract with Moseley. In many instances, council and police department representatives needed to keep their discussions behind closed doors because some of the design details pertain to security measures.

Which companies submitted proposals remains unknown. The town did not provide  identities of the firms that council met with to discuss proposals and terms. Burke said council had narrowed the number of companies to about three. Likewise, a cost for a firm’s design services remained unknown until town officials made available Moseley’s proposal, which council approved without commenting on how much the other companies said they would charge for the same work.

Virginia’s procurement law does not allow the town to use the cost as a factor when considering proposals submitted for architectural design services, Burke said.

“You select a firm to negotiate a price based upon qualifications,” Burke said. “Our department had ranked a number of the responding firms based on their qualifications and then council interviewed the top few of those firms.”

Council ranked the firms and then selected Moseley as the company with which it would continue to negotiate, Burke said.

“Our police department then proceeded to work with Moseley to arrive at a cost that appeared appropriate based on the work that the design would entail,” Burke said.

Moseley Vice President Anthony “Tony” Bell” III outlined the project scope in an April 21 letter to Burke. The project consists of the construction of an approximately 20,000-square-foot police station with furniture, parking for staff and visitors, vehicular circulation and sidewalks, utilities, stormwater management and landscaping, according to Bell. The project also includes the construction of a new communications tower up to 60 feet tall.

Under the contract, Moseley will provide architectural, mechanical, interior and security design and electrical and structural engineering for the project. Moseley also plans to work with a handful of consultants to handle other parts of the project.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or