Construction of the new Scarborough Public Safety headquarters at U.S. Route 1 is on time, but over budget. Krysteana Scribner / The Forecaster

SCARBOROUGH — The new public safety headquarters, tracking towards occupancy next spring, remains $420,000 over budget, and town officials still aren’t sure how the extra costs will be covered.

Town Manager Tom Hall on July 11 said the town is committed to a guaranteed maximum cost of $21.5 million. Any additional or unexpected costs must be brought to the Town Council for approval.

In November 2017, voters  approved borrowing not more than $19.5 million.

The difference between the two amounts will be made up by using approximately $625,000 set aside in reserve funds, and proceeds from the sale of the existing public safety building and two parcels of land near the Oak Hill intersection.

But bids showed the projected cost would be about $2.8 million over budget, because of tariffs, labor shortages and other factors.

Hall said the Public Safety Complex Building Committee managed to “bridge the budget gap” and eliminate $2.4 million worth of work without compromising the integrity of the building. But the project is still coming in about $420,000 over budget.

The Town Council last October agreed that rather than scaling back plans, alternative revenue sources should be explored to make up the difference between the estimated and actual costs.

Hall was expected to go back to the council earlier this year to identify additional funding  sources, but Finance Director Ruth Porter said Wednesday that no formal discussion has been held since the Oct. 17 workshop.

“I really don’t know how they will pay for the remaining cost,” Porter said. “I know the Fire and Police departments have been working to shave costs. But I don’t have specifics or dollar amounts.”

Police Chief Robbie Moulton said it is still too early to know exactly how the gap will be closed, but said he’s hopeful additional funding comes from the sale of the public safety building, which is being brokered by Roxanne Cole Commercial Development for $2.4 million. As of April 2018, the town valued the building, the 2.27 acres it sits on and an adjacent 0.31-acre parcel at just over $2.1 million.

Moulton said the building committee will go back to the council at some point in late summer or early fall to update councilors on cost estimates and the project timeline. He said it’s difficult to predict how the cost of the project may change.

“We had an extended winter which made things difficult, and hopefully by the next meeting with council we will have a better understanding of how to move forward in that respect,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to move forward and see where it takes you.”

The 53,000-square-foot building under construction on town-owned property along the south side of the Municipal Building, along Route 1 and Sawyer Road, will house police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency dispatch. The new headquarters will replace a 17,100-square-foot building down the street at 246 U.S. Route 1.

A topping-off ceremony was held June 21 to mark the milestone of placing the structure’s final steel beam.

“The ceremony is kind of a tradition in the construction community,” Fire Chief Michael Thurlow said. “We’re pleased with our team; they have been working well together.”

The site contractor, RJ Grondin, completed construction of the subsurface drainage system at the end of May.

Inside, more than 1,600 cubic yards of concrete slabs have been placed on the metal decks, and piping inside the building has begun. As of July 1, 27,000 masonry blocks were set on the building facade, which is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

Thurlow said Landry/French Construction of Scarborough has hired subcontractors to finish the technical work. Cement work was completed on July 8, and electrical and plumbing contractors have begun their planning.

Over the next few weeks, installation of a natural gas line along U.S. Route 1. will begin. Roof trusses will installed to mark the high point of the building.

Hall said he is confident the project will be completed by next April.

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