North Augusta City Council discussed future public safety facility projects during a special called meeting Monday evening.
The city is in the process of designing for construction both a Fire Station No. 1 and a Public Safety headquarters.
City Administrator Jim Clifford laid out the timeline for the fire station project to Council.
“Our hope is to be able to move to bid in the October timeframe and come back to Council hopefully in late November to be able to go and show kind of what the bids were and move forward to breaking ground in early 2021,” Clifford said.
He offered a preliminary completion date of early summer 2022 but said he feels more comfortable telling Council it would be complete around early fall that year.
“There are potentially going to be some additional timeline hits to any major construction project in the region,” Clifford said.
“So based on the experience I had over at (Fort Gordon) on some of the projects there, with COVID-19 all it takes is somebody on a work crew coming up as a COVID-19 positive and then you’re taking a two-week hit in the particular commodity area.”
He said another issue could be delays on specialized equipment.
Clifford said the projected budget on the station right now is $3.8 million. The station is set to be built at 311 West Martintown Road.
The city has a new landing page for the fire station project on its website where folks can see updates and sign up for email updates. The page is at northaugusta.net/fs1.
City Council also discussed the Public Safety Headquarters project.
Clifford discussed the budget, as well as the decision whether or not to include the courthouse in the same facility with separate courthouses.
City Council previously discussed whether or not to include the municipal court in the same facility and reiterated that preference Monday night.
Whether or not to put the public safety headquarters and the court in the same facility is related to discussions around separation between the arresting body and the court.
Clifford said there are concerns over having a shared entrance, and the designs shown to Council on Monday had separate entrances for the court and Public Safety.
City attorney Kelly Zier discussed those concerns.
“I would say for 30 years at least and maybe longer than that, there’s continually been discussion about ensuring that there was separation between the court system and public safety,” Zier said.
He said he could see the issue coming back up in the future.
“As long as they’re in the same building, I think the appearance is more of the issue and certainly if they are in distinct separate facilities there may be a benefit to that and it may help with being able to ensure people that where you’re being tried for a crime that you’re accused of committing by the police, you’re not being tried by the police, you’re tried by a court system that is totally separate,” Zier said.
Clifford said the estimated cost for the facility with the court would range between $12.6 million and $14.3 million.
If the courthouse option was removed, Clifford said, that would have a “net savings of about $2 million,” adding that number is a very rough estimate.
The city has budgeted $11.1 million from Capital Projects Sales Tax IV for the headquarters project.
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