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City approves $19.9 million for police facility: total cost approaches $23 million

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Posted on: May 15, 2022

BY SOPHIE GORMAN ORIANI – published 5/15/22; revised 5/23/22 and 6/3/22 

On April 18, the Hyattsville City Council voted to award a construction contract to renovate the former BB&T bank building at 3505 Hamilton Street. 

The $18.7 million contract went to the Whiting-Turner Company, a Maryland-based national company that built the Alexandria, VA police station for $81 million, according to the Washington Post.

The renovated building will serve as the new station for the Hyattsville City Police Department (HCPD).  As soon as the fall of 2023, the HCPD will move from the Hyattsville Municipal Building on Gallatin Street to the new location closer to the West Hyattsville Metro.

At the April 18 meeting, City Administrator Tracey Nicholson-Douglas said there was not enough space for police officers to work in their current location, even as some work from cubicles in a community meeting room or offices set up in closets. Moreover, victims, suspects and visitors all use the same entrance to the department. According to City Communications Manager Cindy Zork, the current police station is about 6,500 square feet.

Also on April 18, the council agreed to increase the maximum cost of the contract with Johnson, Mirmiran, & Thompson (JMT), a large Maryland-based design firm, to $4.75 million, including an expenditure of $1.2 million for construction management for the same project.

The city bought the BB&T building in 2010 for $940,000, and replaced the windows in 2011 using about $140,000 in grant money, according to city staff. The council has been discussing reusing the building for a police station for at least ten years.

Under a competitively bid contract that the city originally approved in 2016 for $500,000, Johnson Mirmiran and Thompson (JMT) has done about $2 million of work for the city on the police station, according to city staff estimates. That work included architecture and engineering design, environmental remediation, inspection and permitting, and construction bid preparation. 

The city has also approved JMT’s work on other planning projects under the same 2016 contract, including work on the new Department of Public Works facility, renovations to the municipal building, and city roads and parks.  

The city council authorized continued renovations for 3505 Hamilton Street to develop a police station in 2017, following extensive discussion of other options including renovating on site and renovating the nearby vacant county services building. At that time, then-Mayor Candace Hollingsworth noted that the reuse of 3505 Hamilton Street was the largest item the council had budgeted in six years.

At the April 4 city council meeting, Deputy Director of Public Works Hal Metzler noted that the projected cost of the project was approximately $10 million in 2017. Metzler noted significant increases in the price of raw materials since then, as well as delays in acquiring materials, largely due to supply chain issues.

Treasurer Ron Brooks said that the city has taken out $10 million in bonds that the city is must use for the project, and is exploring options for financing the remaining construction costs.

According to a March 29 memo from Metzler, the City of Hyattsville issued an open request for qualifications (RFQ) for the project last summer, and then invited four pre-qualified firms to each submit a full proposal. Whiting-Turner was one of two companies who responded to the city’s request for proposals.

The contractor selection committee consisted of Metzler, Director of Public Works Lesley Riddle, City of Hyattsville Treasurer Ron Brooks, Hyattsville Chief of Police Jarod Towers and Helder Almeida, the city’s project manager.

Whiting-Turner had a better score, overall, on factors that included ability to keep the project on schedule and budget, than did Keller Brothers, the only other bidder to submit a proposal. Keller Brothers’ proposal scored better on costs, but according to Zork, Keller Brothers’ proposed cost of construction was only about $300,000 less.

The proposed renovations to the former BB&T building include a three-story addition, a separate one-story addition with a secured door (called a sally port) for controlled transfer of individuals who are being transported in or out, and an elevator. With additions, the building will be 33,000 square feet.

Whiting-Turner’s contract commits the company to finish the project within 545 days of receiving notice to proceed.

Corrections: This article has been corrected twice. The first version of this article mistakenly said that the Alexandra police station was built for $5.1 million.  The first and second versions implied that the entire $4.75 JMT contract was for work on the police station.

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