Engineering firm says there are options to retrofit current police station

A new engineering firm has assessed the current police station and made a possible remarkable discovery—there are options for retrofitting.

City Manager Tara Schultz told the Police Station Citizens’ Advisory Committee (PSCAC) Wednesday evening that IDS Group could seismically retrofit the current station for as low as $1.5 million, according to PSCAC chair Matt Magilke.

Additionally, for another $200,000 to $400,000 for indoor repairs such as flexible gas line connections, mold removal, securing light fixtures, ceiling tiles and anchoring bookshelves to walls, the current station could be made seismically sound for the next two years, Mr. Magilke said.

Roughly 20 percent of the cost for indoor repairs would go toward making the police station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The city categorized the station’s noncompliance with ADA as “extensive and pervasive.”

City spokesperson Bevin Handel stressed that the $1.5 million would not be a panacea to fix the ailing station forever; it would just fix structural and seismic issues for the next five to ten years. Other aspects where the station falls short—the out-of-date jails, the lack of a legitimate women’s locker room—would still need to be addressed, she noted.

According to the city’s presentation, Irvine-based IDS Group found the station does not meet essential services requirements for a number of items, including roof-to-wall connections, wall-to-foundation connections, ceiling support and bracing, partition bracing and support for mechanical and electrical equipment.

Essential services refers to the standards buildings like police stations need to follow in order to withstand a natural disaster and remain operational to administer help.

IDS Group’s assessment is in contrast to what was previously stated by WMM Associates, an architectural firm hired to do a structural engineering analysis on the station during the previous ad hoc committee meetings that formulated Measure SC.

WMM architect Steve Wiley told the committee in June 2016 that the police station could not be retrofitted to current essential services codes, according to a previous COURIER report.

“We would be fortunate, if you were to spend a great deal of money, to be able to make that building meet codes that will even allow us to make it into a storage facility,” Mr. Wiley told the committee in June 2016.

WMM was also hired to design the new station proposed with Measure SC, which was defeated at the ballot box last June.

IDS Group came to the same conclusion as WMM in regards to the station’s roof—it is in danger of collapsing in the event of a large earthquake. However, IDS determined the station can be brought to code for an estimated cost of $1.5 million, according to the city presentation.

Mr. Magilke said that Ms. Schultz indicated she would ask the city council at next Tuesday’s meeting for the $200,000 to $400,000 needed to get the interior of the station to a safe standard.

According to an email Thursday from Bevin Handel, city public information officer, “The recommendation to council next week will be to appropriate $15,000 to create a plan and cost estimate of building around and on top of the existing station, $15,000 to study expansion or reuse of the administration building at city yard for the station, and to direct staff to prepare [a request for proposal] for immediate improvements to the station (remediating hazards for occupancy).”

Multiple calls to Ms. Schultz were not returned by press time. A more complete report will be published when more information is available.

The city posted a lengthy response to this article late Thursday night, which can be read in its entirety here.

—Matthew Bramlett


[Ed. note: information from City Spokesperson Bevin Handel was added to the article to add additional context to the $1.5 million quote from IDS Group.]


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