Bethel Police Station opened three years ago. With the leaks corrected, the project is coming to an end.


BETHEL – It’s been three years since the new police headquarters opened on Judd Avenue, and the city is finally entering the final stages of its police station project.

A water leakage issue at the new station’s shooting range had delayed completion of the project, but First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said this week the issue was finally resolved.

“After the police station was finished, a problem was detected with the shooting range,” he said. “The material used on (one of the walls) was not treated properly… and when there was some sort of windy rainstorm, the water was conducted through the concrete block that includes that wall. “

Following a year-and-a-half review with Downes Construction and its subcontractor, Knickerbocker said the construction company “managed to solve the problem” by applying a waterproof coating to the exterior of the wall. last fall.

“Some engineering studies had to be done to identify the problem because initially no one knew why the moisture was going through the wall,” Knickerbocker said.

It was discovered, he said, that the Downes Construction contractor had “inadvertently used untreated blocks and untreated mortar”.

“Concrete absorbs moisture – there’s kind of no way around it – so they put this coating on the outside of the wall to seal it and create a moisture barrier,” Knickerbocker said. , noting that the company also repaired loose flashings on the roof.

“The problem delayed the completion of the interior of the range, but we are now ready to move on to the final phase of equipping the range so that it can actually be used for training purposes.” , did he declare.

The shooting range has been unusable because it lacks a specialized HVAC unit and other equipment – features that were not part of the project approved by voters, but which the city plans to purchase using the funds saved. in a capital reserve fund.

Although the equipment was at one point estimated to be between $ 600,000 and $ 700,000, Knickerbocker said the final price for the installation will not be known until engineering work and site preparation is completed. not finished.

“The quote we got from the supplier a few years ago does not include the engineering work and the ventilation system,” Knickerbocker said. “I know it won’t be cheap, but I don’t have an exact cost for it – and I won’t until we do the bidding.”

He said a city assembly would likely be needed in order to use the capital reserve funds for equipment, but no bond sales, tax rate hikes or special credits will be needed.

Knickerbocker said the range needs a military-grade ventilation system capable of removing lead dust, as well as structural improvements to allow for the installation of training equipment.

“You have these computer-controlled targets moving along long rails, so elements have to be added to the ceiling and we have to involve some engineers, the architect who designed it, as well as the supplier who installs it.” he said.

Completing the shooting range will not be a simple task, which is why the board of directors voted on Tuesday to retain Geralyn Hoerauf of the project management and consultancy firm STV to manage and coordinate the final phase of the project. .

“We don’t really have the technical knowledge in-house to write the specs, so we’re looking to hire a project manager to coordinate all of this,” Knickerbocker said.

The Board of Selectmen is seeking approval from the Board of Finance to use up to $ 49,447 of its capital reserve fund to retain Hoerauf, who served as the project manager for the town’s recent school renovations.

If hired, she would be responsible for completing technical specifications, writing specifications for equipment submissions, and coordinating the installation of range materials.

“As long as the global supply chain issues are resolved, I plan to be in full construction mode by early summer and have the range operational by mid-summer,” Knickerbocker said.

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