Aldermen are poised to fund Starkville Police Department renovations after seven of eight project bids received by the city Thursday came in under the $5.4 million budget allocated for the work.
City staff opened but took no action on bids ranging $4.48 million to $5.48 million to renovate the former administrative building, construct a new parking area, make exterior upgrades and improve accessibility around the facility.
Five groups — Craddock Construction Company, David Smith Construction, Larry J. Sumrall Contractors, McCarty King Construction Company and Weathers Construction — submitted base bids for interior renovations below the $5 million mark.
After the costs of two alternate projects — sidewalk, exterior and parking lot construction efforts — were added, only the Columbus-based Weathers’ $4.48 million offer remained below $5 million.
Craddock’s combined bid of $5 million was the second-lowest bid received, while Sumrall’s $5.07 million combined offer was third lowest.
The most expensive bid — a $5.48 million offer for the base and additional projects — came from CIG Contractors.
Aldermen are expected to take action on the bids at Tuesday’s board meeting and could move forward with separate $3 million and $2.4 million bond issuances shortly after.
Construction and renovation efforts could begin in earnest next month.
Items left off
The board sought new bids for a scaled-down version of the project after a previous process yielded offers about $1 million over budget. Individual improvements left off the latest bidding process include the construction of a sallyport and exterior parking lot enclosure, and rehabilitation efforts for the former county drug court space.
Equipment for SPD’s dispatchers was also removed from the prior bidding process after it was determined the police department could make those purchases through state contract, a spokesperson for architect Gary Shafer said.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said some of excluded elements could be added back because of the possible cushion created by the low bids. In order of importance, he rated the parking lot’s security wall, drug court renovations and sallyport construction as the projects he would tend to if funding allowed.
“I think this is as fine of a day I’ve had since I’ve been in office,” Wiseman said of the possibility to solve the decades-long issue of where to house SPD on a permanent basis. “It’s a great relief and a very exciting prospect to have this project on track and to move forward. I am optimistic that this construction project will not only meet the needs of our police force for the next generation, but it will also put another catalyst building project in downtown Starkville, renovating one of the most historically significant structures in this community.”
Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins, who previously stumped for a 1-mill tax increase to fund SPD improvements, said he looks forward to making the motion Tuesday to put the renovation in motion.
Starkville currently operates with a 21.98-mill tax rate, and 1 mill brings in about $225,000 to the city.
“This is the most important meeting I’ll have attended in my 23 years on the board. This is a project walked by faith, not by sight. We have reached the mountain top, and I’m glad to be there,” he said. “Tuesday will be a great day and a high moment for Starkville, another golden leaf for the city. This demonstrates what we can do when we work together as a team. I’m proud for all of our residents.”
SPD moved out of the former armory hall this summer ahead of anticipated construction efforts. The department’s headquarters and administration is housed at City Hall, while reporting and dispatch functions moved to the Starkville Sportsplex annex. Its investigations department is utilizing previously rented and newly leased office space at Synergetics, and other staff and operations occupy South Park Plaza commercial space on Louisville Street.
SPD also operates two substations and utilizes a training area near the George M. Bryan Airport. Bookings and arrest processing occur at the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch