February 20, 2015 - 4:54 PM
KELOWNA - Andrew Gibbs manages projects for the City of Kelowna. To hear him talk, shepherding the $48-million police services building through its design and construction is no big deal, in some ways similar to all the other projects he’s managed for the city.
Except it’s the biggest he’s ever handled. And it’s one of the biggest projects the city has ever undertaken. And it's a working prison, requiring a level of security that no other building normally needs even during construction.
“RCMP obviously have security clearance and we had to have clearances for the city staff that worked on the project,” he said. “Our design consultant had to be cleared and the design build proponents have to have security clearances. Once they start construction, they will require clearances for their crews as well.”
Council used the alternative approval process last year to get voter approval to replace the aging and over-crowded building on Doyle Street. The new building will house all current RCMP and civilian staff, plus the local K9 division, forensics and exhibits service and the identifcation unit, now all housed in leased space off-site.
As well, space is planned for holding and other cells for regular inmates plus those making court appearances at the Kelowna Court House.
Just don’t ask Gibbs how many cells there will be. “I can’t tell you that though I can tell you there will be more than there is now,” he said. Nor can he discuss the layout of the building, other than say it will be from 90,000 to 100,000 square feet and meet staffing needs for the next 10 years.
An artists rendering of the new building is out of the question. “They haven’t submitted them yet and even when they do, I can’t show them to you,” Gibbs said, offering only that the building will be oriented to the southeast on the intersection of Clement and Richter Streets.
While the final budget could yet change, depending on what the three short-listed developers — PLC Construction, Bird Construction and Bouygues SA come back with — Gibbs says it won’t likely be from change orders during construction.
“We’ve have the RCMP on our team and we’ve been going back and forth with them about what they need so we’re hoping keep changes to a minimum,” he said. “All three of those companies have experience with security projects."
The three project proponents have until the beginning of March to submit their design proposals and a further two weeks to submit their financial proposals. Should everything meet standards, Gibbs said a company could be selected and construction could begin as early as May, with construction scheduled for two years.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015