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Board seeks bids on police, court work; Facility to be built at Pavement Road

The Lancaster Town Board voted Monday night to seek bids on construction of a law enforcement complex for the town, the latest step in the nearly decade-long effort to build a new police headquarters in Lancaster.

Construction could begin in a matter of months if the town accepts one of the bids for a police and courts complex on Pavement Road projected to cost $7.4 million.

The Town Board last month rejected as too expensive the bids received for the police shooting range meant to be the starting point of the project.

But the architect overseeing the police and courts complex said she is optimistic the bids for the full facility will come in under budget.

"I'm hopeful. We've had our preliminary estimates that show that the project is within line with the budget," Gwen A. Howard, a senior project manager for Foit-Albert Associates, said in an interview after Monday's board meeting.

After years of discussion and a change in the location of the project, the town now plans to build a 27,000-square-foot facility to house police and Town Court operations at 525 Pavement Road, with construction taking about 18 months, officials have said.

Town officials expect to spend $8 million on the project, with $7.4 million devoted to the main police headquarters and court facility and $600,000 left over for a shooting range that was to go in an existing police garage.

The town put the shooting range out to bid last November, because the range could be easily done as a stand-alone project and because officials hoped to apply a $350,000 Empire State Development grant toward its construction.

However, the bids came in higher than expected -- $800,000 and up -- and the Town Board voted at its Feb. 6 meeting to reject the bids.

Now, the town is asking contractors to include the shooting range as an alternate part of their bids on the overall police and courts complex. Howard said she believes the costs for the shooting range will be lower when it is included in the larger project because of "economies of scale" for the contractors.

The town also is debating whether to sign up to train its police officers at a private shooting range proposed for a site in Depew.

The bids for work on the complex are due April 18.

Also at Monday's meeting, town officials revealed the Lancaster Public Library will close from March 19 to April 2 to allow for the installation of new carpeting.

The town is replacing carpeting that was installed in 1993 and has "well outlived its life," Terrence D. McCracken, general crew chief in the town's Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, said at the work session that preceded the Town Board meeting.

The town is paying the approximately $36,000 cost of installing the medium-blue carpeting because the town owns the building that houses the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library branch at 5466 Broadway, at Lake Avenue.

Work crews also will take this opportunity to install wiring for additional data and electrical lines into the library. McCracken said in an interview that he doesn't yet know how much this will cost, but it's much less than the carpeting.

For complete coverage, go to buffalonews.com/lancaster.

email: swatson@buffnews.com