HIGHLAND | The Town Council got the ball rolling Monday for construction of the new police station to begin late this summer.
This will start with the wrecking ball to raze two homes purchased by the town at the northeast corner of Ridge Road and Cottage Grove Avenue. There were some issues at the houses, involving asbestos and a well, that have been resolved, said Scott Cherry, senior vice president of The Skillman Corp. of Merrillville.
The site preparation will be performed by Gough Inc. of Merrillville, which was awarded a bid on Monday for $457,300.
"I would hope that you'll see ground being moved on Monday," Cherry said.
Along with the demolition, Gough will install a new parking lot at the north end of the site, create a detention pond and install an underground drainage system.
"The site work should be done around August," Cherry added.
After this, a second bidding will take place for actual construction of the new station, Cherry said.
The modern new facility is expected to feature a brick and masonry exterior, Cherry said, stressing that the final look is still being developed.
Construction will begin later this summer, with operations expected to begin around September 2015.
At one point, preliminary designs were almost $1 million over the expected total cost of $10,240,000, Cherry said. Council Vice President Konnie Kuiper, D-2nd, expressed dismay at this, but was assured by Cherry and Town Attorney Rhett Tauber that the cost was being brought back in line.
Cherry noted that various aesthetic elements were added to the original plan, such as a long retaining wall, additional square footage and two arch-like sections on the roof to make the building more visually appealing. Cherry said subsequent designs are cutting back on these elements while retaining the overall look.
"We're very close (to meeting the original cost projection,)" Cherry said.
The issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting, said Council President Dan Vassar, D-3rd.
"I (definitely) want to bring this up again, please," Kuiper said.
In winning the site preparation bidding, Gough beat out Garip Construction Inc., which bid $486,200; and Grimmer Construction Inc., at $623,000.