Firm presents potential plan for $13.6 million renovated Glocester police headquarters

Mark Saccocio of Saccocio and Associates Architects explains the layout for the proposed addtions to the Glocester Police Station at 162 Chopmist Hill Road. NRI NOW photo by Dick Martin

GLOCESTER – After hearing and reviewing the plan for renovating the current Glocester Police Station, Town Council said they are determined to weigh all options for the project before making a final decision. That includes getting a potential estimate and plan for a new station on town property on Adelaide Road, near the center of Chepachet Village.

Mark Saccocio of Saccocio and Associates Architects of Cranston presented a preliminary plan, including estimated costs for renovating the current station at 162 Chopmist Hill Road. The station was last renovated 32 years ago, and the proposed renovations would result in an additional 9,200 square-feet of space, along with an enlarged 2,260-square-foot garage. The total cost for the renovations would be approximately $13,600,000, according to estimates presented this week.

“The goal was to get the best utilization out of the existing facility and then add on the new, updated areas that are needed to run a modern day police force,” Saccocio told the council.

He added that although some parts of the station would remain the same, there are needed additions that do not exist in the current station, such as a soft interview room, a larger locker room area, an additional interview room, storage areas for evidence and records and other spaces. That includes a room for all the technology elements required.

“This plan brings the facility up to accreditation standards,” he said. “It meets all the current standards which are necessary to run a police station.”

Saccocio estimated a rough cost of a new similar building at a different site to be about $14,400,00.

“It’s hard to put a fixed number on a new building, obviously, because site costs vary tremendously by what you have and what you have to do with it,” he added.

Council Vice President Stephen Arnold questioned whether renovating the old building was better than building a new one, or vice versa.

Saccocio said the only drawback is that once the current building is renovated, no more could be done with it in the future.

Saccocio showed the layout of the existing police building. NRI NOW photo by Dick Martin

“That is probably the biggest compromise,” responded Saccocio. “You’re basically done with the development of the site at this point.”

He added that building at a bigger site does allow for more growth to address necessary and/or unexpected changes in the future. Renovations at the current site, he said, were projected to last 20-25 years, based on current information regarding the town’s growth.

Police Chief Joseph DelPrete explained that the current building has a number of deficiencies including a small, inadequate locker room with what he referred to as, “high school lockers,” which are not properly secured. Restroom facilities are also a problem, as well as cell rooms, along with other areas.

“The records room, we don’t have one on site in the main building,” said DelPrete. “We have it in the top of the garage.”

He added that the technology and mechanics are basically in a closet.

“If you go in a new police station the mechanicals room is probably half the size of this room,” said DelPrete, referring to the council meeting room.

That includes cameras, recorders and other technology.

“We’ve just outgrown it,” he said of the GPD’s current digs.

When asked about the difference between renovating the current building and building on a new site, which Saccocio estimated to be about $2 million more, the architect explained that it is hard to estimate.

“I’m supposed to instill a lot of confidence in you, but I’m just being very honest,” said Saccocio. “It is a crapshoot. It’s hard to put a number on it right now.”

It depends on many variables, he added, including site testing and preparation, among other concerns. He also said that he wouldn’t be presenting the current plan if he thought it wouldn’t work.

Saccocio said in most cases, costs are going to go up. As far as renovating the current building, he explained that parts of the building could be renovated without affecting work areas in some other parts. Previously, it was thought that most of the operations would have to be placed in temporary trailers. The architect said that the biggest obstacle would be the dispatch, noting that, in essence, every room in the building would be renovated to a certain extent.

DelPrete explained that dispatch has live cameras on all the school buildings, for example, which can not just be moved or disturbed.

“We could not squeeze in a ham sandwich over there now,” said DelPrete. “It’s that tight.”

After further discussion, Arnold asked how often one possibility – such as renovation – is dropped in favor of the second possibility – such as a new building – on other similar projects the company has completed.

“I guess that’s my concern,” said Arnold. “For $2 million when you are talking $12 million or $14 million, in my mind what’s the better option?”

Saccocio explained that it is a conversation they have on every project, and that often the decision is made based on the importance of the location, such as a fire station that needs to be within a given area for response time. Often, he added, fire stations are renovated or rebuilt on the same site for that reason.

One of the pluses for the current site, said Saccocio, is that the septic system was recently upgraded, making it compatible for the larger building with more restrooms. Another concern is the present communications tower on the site, which DelPrete explained has been condemned and can not be repaired or climbed if there are problems. A new tower would have to be built, which would be 150-feet-high, as opposed to the current, 100-foot tower.

“Our tower is condemned at our site,” said DelPrete. “Doesn’t mean we can’t use it. We just can’t climb it.”

Mainly, he added, the tower was used for fire services, as opposed to police services. DelPrete noted that American Rescue Plan Act funds are available for the new construction, but they are within time constraints. The decision on whether or not to build a new police station or renovate the old one would determine where the new tower was to be built. DelPrete said funds that are available for other renovations and upgrades had been put on hold, depending on the council’s decision on whether the station was improved for a major overhaul. If no decision was made, those improvements would be done gradually over the coming years, he said.

“I’m flying in a holding pattern, waiting for directions,” he told the council.

“I just get real nervous….(about) that small piece of land in 25 years,” said Town Council President William Worthy.

Saccocio referenced Kingstown High, which was renovated 20 years ago. At that time the cost was $35 million. Today, he said, it would be $135 million.

When asked if a new facility would be similar to the current renovation plan, Saccocio said it would depend on the site, including entrances and exits, surrounding areas and other variables.

“There are a lot of pieces you really have to take into consideration on how the site operates,” he explained.

“Basically, we’ve had this building for 30 years and we’ve outgrown it,” said Councilor Walter Steere. “It has served the town well, served the department well, but we’re different than we were 30 years ago.”

DelPrete explained that eventually, new officers will have to be added. How many and when is hard to predict, he said, but it could mean as many as 10 or more, as opposed to the 20 police officers on hand now.

“We’ve definitely grown,” the chief told the council. “The work has grown, and the complexity of the work, and the major crimes have grown. We’re a very safe community, but a lot of things have happened. We’re tight. Every aspect of the building is tight. The people work the way they are supposed to, but it’s changing. Everything’s changing. We need an upgrade.”

“This isn’t something that would be nice to have,” responded Steere. “You really need this. We need public safety. We need to have the appropriate facilities to handle that for the town.”

He added that although they need to keep that in mind, they also need to keep the taxpayers in mind, as they consider adding more tax burdens.

“We’re trying to find that balance,” said Steere.

Current grants and funds totaling more than $1.5 million could be used towards the new building, but time is running out. When Steere asked Saccocio how soon a conceptual rendering/estimate of a new site could be made, similar to what was presented at the meeting, the architect said it could be done in a couple of months.

“The longer we wait, the more expensive it is going to be,” said Steere. “This is something that needs to be done.”

“I would think it would be in our best interests to give you a potential new site,” said Arnold. “What’s the best value for the taxpayers here?”

After more discussion, the council decided to place the decision on the next agenda of formally identifying the site and the amount to allocate for the estimate and concept rendering.

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  1. People need to understand that times are changing and modernization costs money. Most police station need to be updated to keep up with Standards of a modern world.

  2. How does this police station compare to the new police station Foster has just gotten multiple bids for only $8 million to nearly $10 million on– and is now talking about also to be able to cut to maybe another $2 million off of via “value engineering”?

  3. John Beauregard please note that the original proposal was a smaller project. The scope of work was expanded and the total square footage is now 16,200. The increase in square footage is the primary reason for the higher cost. Also, as I’ve said previously, in my letter to the editor of the VB I stated the “construction cost” was $8.8 million.

    • That’s called back peddling. I posted on Cliff Notes before you deleted my comments that the $8.8 million is for construction cost only. Just the bare bone construction costs and the actual cost would be closer to $14 million. Your reply was, even if I am correct the cost would still be under $10 million. There is no need to defend yourself. The point of my post is not to show you that you were wrong. The point is to show everyone else you were wrong.

      • John, the proposal did not go up from $8.8 million to $14.4 million because of soft costs. Check my lte and read it again. I said “construction costs” in my lte because it was not clear from the news article or my conversation with the Chief if soft costs were included. When you said it didn’t include soft costs I did say even if they haven’t been included the price would never go up to $14 million due to soft costs. The cost went up because the square footage increased to 16,200! It’s a much larger proposal and you are now comparing an apple to an orange. I’m not defending myself, I’m trying to explain to you that the project is much larger than originally proposed.

  4. What John and Tony fail to understand is taxpayers can not afford $18 million. It is not about the estimate when cost is of no concern. This is a basic finance lesson. I would love to drive a Bentley with all the bells a whistles but I have to purchase what I can afford which is a Toyota. So the way the project needs to be done is what can the taxpayers afford and then see what can be done for that amount. Public safety will not improve or be noticed by taxpayers with a new facility.

      • I did read what you wrote and you did not read the article closely because the square footage was increased and that is largest part of the increase. But what you will never understand is finance and the fact that $18 million for a police station is something taxpayers can not afford. All because you promised your union friends a brand new station all on the backs of the taxpayers.

  5. Here’s a quiz, how many can get this right?; Now that we know the estimate for a new police station in Glocester is $14.4 million. When I said this; “Did you try looking into this even a little bit or did you just get your numbers off a news article? The $8.8 million is for construction costs only. No soft costs, no design fees, no FF&E, no technology updates, just bare bone construction costs. This would bring the cost of the building closer to $14 million or more.” Who said this; “John Beauregard soft costs, technology and all those fees you listed came to $2.3 million on your $18 million dollar model. Even if you are correct about construction costs only, this project will still be under $10 million.” Here’s a hint, this person handed out pamphlets and wrote a LTE stating that Glocester was building a police station for $8.8 million.

    • Perhaps the same person who wrote one month ago (on his wretched Facebook page) re. NS TC’s Doug Osier “I actually helped him in his first campaign for TC. By the end of that campaign I had some doubts based on a judgement call he made. When he announced he was running for TA my fears were confirmed and I offered no assistance to him”, but in reality on August 22, 2020 (when Mr. Osier was on the ballot for NS TA) posted to his own vile Facebook page, “Please consider “following” or “liking” Douglas Osier’s Facebook page to show support.”? That guy? Mr. Zero Credibility? I’m thinking yes, him.

  6. “This plan brings the facility up to accreditation standards,”

    Where can we view these “accreditation standards”?
    Also, accreditation from RIPAC or CALEA?

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