BEDFORD, N.Y. - After delays and financial setbacks that have put the project nearly $1.4 million over budget, the new Bedford Police Department headquarters is slated to open at the beginning of the fall.

The project included a total “gut renovation” of the 39-year-old building at 307 Bedford Road, bringing the facility from 6,700-square-feet to 11,000-square-feet. A study performed in December 2014 concluded that the old building was “functionally obsolete,” so Bedford set out to design a new headquarters that would meet the needs of a “modern day” police department, said Police Chief Melvin Padilla.

Padilla said the building had inadequate interview space, no dedicated training space, leaking ceilings over dispatch equipment, and overheating 9-1-1 systems due to poor ventilation.

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“It was apparent that the building had lived its life and needed some attention,” Padilla said.

Before moving forward with the renovation, Padilla said, the town considered all options, including demolishing the building or moving to a new location.

“It was determined that the most cost-effective and efficient way to move forward was to perform a gut renovation with an addition to the existing building,” he said.

The Town Board approved a $7 million bond and construction began in February 2017. Lothrop Associates was contracted to design the new-look building and Verdi Construction Company carried out that vision.

The project got off to a rocky start, as contaminated soil was soon discovered. The soil had been contaminated by the previous removal of underground oil and gas tanks, Padilla said. Asbestos was also discovered in various locations, both underground and within masonry walls.

“The first two-thirds of the project were a bit turbulent,” Padilla said. “This caused delays and additional expenses for remediation and removal.”

Months later, Padilla said, it was discovered that the concrete slab floor of the old building was “too porous” to install new flooring materials.

“In order to ensure the longevity of the new materials we would be putting on top of it, it would have to be replaced,” he said.

Dominick Calgi, whose company was contracted to manage the project, said these types of things can happen with any renovation project.

“You never really know until you start taking walls down,” Calgi said.

He said the town’s situation is not uncommon when compared to renovations of other municipal buildings.

“Overall, given the unforeseen delays and everything else, it has been a very successful project so far,” Calgi said.

Town Comptroller Abraham Zambrano said when the board borrowed $7 million at the beginning of 2017, he fully expected the project would be on time and under budget. He said they were caught off-guard by the contaminated soil because an environmental cleanup was performed near the site years ago. The contamination, however, was more widespread than expected.

“Because the town had already done some environmental cleanup some years back, we never really thought that we were going to hit a similar situation that apparently had expanded beyond where the previous cleanup had been,” Zambrano said.

The cleanup of the contamination cost about $700,000, Zambrano said. The delays required the Bedford Police Department to stay in their temporary headquarters next door at 321 Bedford Road a bit longer than intended, which resulted in about $421,000 of additional expenses for things such as cleaning the septic tank and keeping the records stored off-site.

Town Supervisor Chris Burdick said “clearly” the Town Board will have to go to bond on additional money, likely at the beginning of September.

“It does seem pretty clear that the quality of the work is very high and obviously something where we’re looking for longevity and durability and also something that’s aesthetically pleasing and fits into our campus here,” Burdick said. “It all seems to be falling into place well.”

Padilla said the renovation project is in its “final stages” and should be completed by the end of August or the beginning of September. He expects his department to move in near the end of September, with a ribbon cutting following in October.

With the department moved out of its temporary headquarters, the town must decide what it will do with that space, Burdick said. Zambrano said the town can renovate the space and rent it out. That would allow the town to still use a “good portion” of that space for storage of records or other uses.

Carports project re-bid again

The Bedford Town Board called a special meeting on Thursday, July 27, to once again reject all bids to build carports at the new police department headquarters. The board then voted to re-bid the project, this time with a solar panel component.

The reason, said Supervisor Burdick, is because Bedford has received indication from the Croton Energy Group that it could do the project with solar panels for $281,000. The low bid, without solar panels, was $245,000. So, with a projected energy savings of $4,200 per year, the difference could be amortized in eight-and-a-half years.

Burdick said the solar panel system would generate “almost two-thirds of the electricity needs of the station.” The purpose of carports is to keep police department vehicles out of the elements, thus prolonging their lifespan.

This will be the third time that the Town Board has gone out to bid on the carports project. The first time around, only one bid was received for $350,380.

The bids came in high, Chief Padilla explained, because it required developers to design their own carports. To reduce costs, the Town Board spent $16,300 to hire an architectural firm to design the carports, and then go out to bid on that specific design. The lowest price among the six bids this time around was $245,000.