Sunday, October 15, 2000

Norwood cop shop on track


New facility slated to open next year

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — For at least three decades, police officials here have been pleading their case for a new police headquarters and jail.

        The existing police facility in the rear of City Hall has been in continuous use since the building was constructed in 1915.

        “By next fall, our new facility will be open, maybe as soon as seven months from now,” Mayor Joe Hochbein said. “Our police department is in real need of a new station.”

        In April 1999, the city purchased the former PNC Bank branch building across Maple Avenue from City Hall for $275,000, with the intention of expanding it and converting it into a new police headquarters and jail by this fall, the mayor said.

        However, the project was delayed. Then, last week, bids were received that total well below preliminary cost estimates. The project is back on the front burner, said Norwood's projects coordinator, Jack Cameron.

        The estimate for the project, including a series of alternate options, was $713,689, Mr. Cameron said. The bids put the cost of the project, including the options, at $582,883.

        “We do not know every reason why that occurred,” Mr. Cameron said. “But, for example, the engineer estimated security and electrical systems at $132,000 while the contractors' bids (meet ing the stated specifications) came in at $75,000.”

        Mr. Hochbein said the project delay occurred when a state jail inspector reviewed early plans and ordered modifications to meet state standards for jails and police facilities. Revising the plans took four months. Also, the mayor said the city was aware high construction costs last year were likely to affect bids.

        “They were off the chart,” he said. “You had the (Paul Brown) Stadium project and other big (downtown) projects in the area, and there were high gas and oil prices contributing to high costs, too.”

        Police Chief William Schlie said the city's jail, patrol division, records and clerks section, and administration will move into the new building after it is modified and expanded.

        The city's recently installed emergency 911 dispatching system and the detectives division will remain in the existing City Hall space now occupied by the entire department, the chief said. That area will be remodeled after the new building opens.

        With the new building, police will operate out of 12,800 square feet of space — the 7,500 square feet being used in City Hall plus 5,300 square feet in the new building after it is expanded by 1,700 square feet to the rear where the jail will be located, Mr. Cameron said.

       



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