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Village Mulling Firm to Oversee New Police Station Construction

Feb 02, 2016 09:32PM ● Published by Steven Jack

The current Oswego Police station was built in 1991. (Photo courtesy village of Oswego Tourism Department Flickr)

By Tony Scott

Village of Oswego staff presented a Wheaton-based architecture firm Tuesday evening to potentially oversee the construction of a planned new police station for the village.

Village Administrator Daniel Di Santo and Police Chief Jeff Burgner proposed that the firm McClaren, Wilson and Lawrie, Inc., be hired as an “owner advisor” to oversee the police station project. The village is in the early stages of planning the new station, which could take three years to build, officials said.

Di Santo said the cost for the MWL firm’s services would be approximately $235,000 out of the total projected $30 million price tag for the project. He said before the holidays he and Burgner formed an “impromptu group of staff members” from various departments to talk about the MWL proposal to determine if they see a value in it and if the price “is where it should be.”

“It was very deliberate and we did not rush this decision,” Di Santo said. “We worked very hard before and after the New Year to come to this recommendation.”

Di Santo said he would be executing a portion of the contract for $15,000, which is within his authority, to begin the process of hiring a construction manager with the help of MWL. He will then bring a full contract to the next village board meeting for the board to review and vote on.

The firm was involved with the Village of Montgomery’s village hall and police station projects, and was involved with Oswego’s space needs analysis for a police station.

“Retaining MWL would provide the village the benefit of having a highly experienced international firm with specific expertise in police facility design and construction,” Burgner wrote in a memo to the board.

Di Santo said the staff is “kind of stretched” and is “running pretty lean.” He said he was concerned that if development picks up and staff gets busier, it would affect the police station project.

He said the cost to hire MWL would be the equivalent of hiring two full-time people for two and a half to three years to work on the project, but that the village would still save money by hiring the firm.

“I really truly believe that this will add a tremendous amount to the project, and just ensure that the project will be done right, and really be done on budget, too,” Di Santo said.

Village board member Pam Parr asked if there was anyone on village staff who was the equivalent of a facilities manager. Di Santo said there are staffers who have construction related experience, but none have built a police facility.

Parr said the village has “fabulous people” on staff, but that the MWL firm has more expertise specifically building public safety facilities. Parr recalled her experience on the Kendall County Board when the county built the current courthouse.

“Having been involved in a $30 million project, I can appreciate the detail that is involved and it’s overwhelming, and it takes more than one or two people,” Parr said.

Peter D. Crawford, senior architect with MWL, said the firm specializes in police stations.

“We’re unique in the sense that all we do is projects like this; we just do public safety projects,” he said. 

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