A renovation of Petersburg’s police station, jail and municipal building will be starting up in May after the borough assembly Friday awarded the contract for the work. The assembly also approved a year-long lease to move the borough’s administration and finance offices to the Petersburg Indian Association’s office building while that work is underway.

The construction work for Petersburg’s top capital project will go to a joint construction company called MCG Constructors/DCI Joint Ventures. That’s a collaboration of two firms that have competed against each other to bid on public building project in Petersburg in the past, McGraw and Dawson. The contractors are also finishing up a renovation of Harrigan Centennial Hall in Sitka. Assembly member Eric Castro wondered if the contractor would have an issue with working on two projects at once.

Architect Corey Wall of MRV Architects in Juneau attended the meeting by telephone and told the assembly about an informal conversation he had with the company’s project manager Chad McGraw. “And so what he told me is that project is pretty much complete and so they would just finish wrapping that up to start this one,” Wall said. “That’s why they thought the two projects matched very well. So as far as I know, the MCG crew is coming from Sitka to work on this project, they won’t be happening simultaneously.”

McGraw has built many of Petersburg’s recent public building projects, the swimming pool, fire hall, library and the Mountain View Manor assisted living expansion. The city of Petersburg ended up settling a lawsuit with the contractor and several design companies over problems with some of the Mountain View Manor work.

Assembly members Friday had a discussion about oversight of the construction work and whether to hire a contract administrator like the borough did with the new library and fire hall. Bob Lynn thought it made sense to hire someone to be there on a regular basis “There’s too many facets of this and too many things we have a potential to run into I believe if we award it,” Lynn said. “And then I agree with Corey. The other part of it is that person that you have on the ground daily also has a chance to take pictures which ends up as part of the record, which also if you have to go back and do remedial action on something, it makes a big difference.”

The project has a construction administration budget of 180-thousand dollars and some of the oversight work could also be handled by borough staff. The assembly will have to decide on a construction oversight contract at a later date.

Assembly members wanted to leave off one of the alternatives that the contracting companies bid on, 213-thousand dollars for work on the police parking area on the south side of the building. That work would improve the sight lines for police vehicles pulling out of the parking lot onto Nordic Drive by moving the exit of the parking lot.

For now the renovation project will not include an upgrade for the carport and parking lot on the south side of the police station.

For now the renovation project will not include an upgrade for the carport and parking lot on the south side of the police station.

Police chief Kelly Swihart mentioned the safety factor and he said he talked with public works director Karl Hagerman about other options for the appearance of the parking lot. “You know I thought about it from a cosmetic standpoint,” Swihart said. “We’re gonna have this nice new building and you know do we wanna have this old parking structure that’s there detracting from that building. Karl and I have talked about a couple different options and there’s some things we can do but the short answer is we would love to have it but we can live without it if we have to.”

That work would add an additional parking space and redo the covered car port. Mayor Mark Jensen wanted to keep the cost of the project down and thought that alternative could be done later. “And I kinda think that if it went out to bid locally you might find somebody that could build that kind of a structure fairly easily,” Jensen said. “But that’s just my thought. As long the parking lot’s functional and the sally port’s functional with the parking lot and the parking garage it stays like it is. So, that’s just my thought on it.”

The vote was unanimous to award the bid to MCG Constructors/DCI Joint Venture for 6.6 million dollars without the parking lot work. The project will include a new roof membrane and a new elevator. Even with those alternatives, the bid price is below what the borough was expecting to pay for the work, closer to seven point seven million dollars, including money for unforeseen costs.
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The actual construction work won’t start until April 30th. However, borough administration and finance staff will have to move out of the building before then. They’ll be packing up and moving up the hill to the Petersburg Indian Association’s Hallingstad Peratrovich Building for at least a year. Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht and other employees will be moving to the space that is used as PIA’s exercise and weight room. “Where their current gym is on the second floor, we’re in that big, that whole area,” Giesbrecht said. “We’re just gonna be in kindof an open office area. We’re gonna use the file cabinets, use some of the desks to get some separation. But reality is we’re gonna have to learn to speak quieter, me especially, and have to get used to each other’s company.”

Staff will be at that site while the second floor of the municipal building, including the old library space is renovated for new borough offices. Borough assembly meetings will likely move to the PIA’s board room during that time.

The assembly voted unanimously to approve a year-long lease starting up this month for just under 97-thousand dollars. Giesbrecht said he expected to use that entire year and thought the lease may even have to be extended to allow for the construction and moving staff in and out of the PIA building.
The project will mean a fully renovated police station and new jail cells along with new borough offices in the 58 year old building. It’s expected to be completed in late 2017. With the cost of design, rent, moving, new furnishings and communications equipment the overall price tag is expected to be close to 10 million dollars.