BRUNSWICK — Town leaders want an exterior sally port in the new police station, but they may not be able to pay for it, a representative of the architectural firm handling the project warned Tuesday.

“I would caution you … I don’t think we can hit that five-and-a-half million dollar target by keeping the sally port as an extension,” Jeffrey Shaw, of Donham & Sweeney Architects, told the Police Station Building Committee.

A sally port is a fortified entrance, in which officers can remove handcuffed suspects from their vehicles in a controlled environment that minimizes the risk of injury or escape.

The first design presented to the committee had an estimated cost of $7.2 million, far more than the $5.5 million budget that had been established.

To come in closer to budget, the building size was reduced, and various features were eliminated. One cost-saving adjustment was moving the sally port inside the building.

The project estimate remains $211,000 above the budget.

Shaw expressed confidence that the overrun could be squeezed out of the project costs, but he said that adding another $120,000 feature wouldn’t be possible.

Town Council Chairwoman Joanne King, who also chairs the police station committee, said she felt the design could include the sally port without going over budget.

“You can hit that $5.5 million, but you can’t add that $120,000? That doesn’t seem like a major number to me,” she told Shaw.

Shaw said that the biggest cost-saving measures had already been implemented.

“Two-hundred thousand dollars still to go is not an insignificant amount to take out of the building, so we would be hitting just about every available pocket for savings,” he said. “… I don’t want to give you a guarantee on that today and then have to come back … and have to tell you that the building is greater than five and a half million.”

King maintained that it was important for the council to vote to have the exterior sally port in the design.

“The sally port was the one key thing we knew we wanted for the police force, in addition to getting them out of the basement (of the municipal building),” she said.

Councilor John Perrault and other committee members initially balked at the idea of committing to a design feature that might push the project over the budget constraints, especially when features like a public meeting room had been scrapped.

“Everything is a priority that certain people want,” Perrault said. “I want the public space and that hasn’t been adopted into this. … Unless we can pull that savings somewhere, then I don’t want to spend more than that.”

Eventually, a motion to include the sally port passed unanimously, with the understanding that the architects would present options in the future as to what features could be sacrificed to stay under budget.

The committee also voted, with member John Donovan opposed, to approve a hip roof, rather than a gable roof.

A hip roof slopes gently to all four walls, while a gable roof typically has a steeper slope that extends to just two walls.

The gable roof was generally seen as a more imposing feature that would add height to the building.

“I like the gable,” Donovan said. “It gives a statement as to the purpose of the building, and why it’s there.”

Councilor Sarah Brayman said she felt the hip roof would more closely match the post office and the library, and therefore provide a more tightly knit visual to visitors.

The hip roof will allow the building to be moved closer to the street.

A final design will be presented to the committee on May 1. A cost estimate will be presented to the committee on June 12.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @hh_matt.

Sidebar Elements

The latest working draft of a new police station in Brunswick includes a hip roof design, which allows the building to be moved closer to the street. The final design may also include an exterior sally port.

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