Portsmouth selects lowest bidder to build new police station

Town accepts Bentley Builders’ base bid of $8.31 million

EastBayRI.com ·

PORTSMOUTH — The town has selected the builder for the new police station and work is expected to start Oct. 1.

The Town Council Monday night voted unanimously to accept the lowest base bid, which was $8.31 million submitted by Bentley Builders LLC of North Kingstown.

There were five other bidders: Pezzuco Construction, $8.735 million; J.J. Cardosi, $9.071 million; Calson Construction, $9.124 million; Behan Bros., $9.296 million; and Mill City Construction, $10.065 million.

Portsmouth voters overwhelmingly approved a $10 million bond issue in November 2016 to build a new station behind the current one on East Main Road. The existing building will be demolished after the new one is complete.

The existing 5,000-square-foot building was constructed 41 years ago, when the town was much smaller in population and placed far fewer demands on police, town officials say. The architectural firm of Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc. (DRA) recommended a 20,0000-square-foot, two-story building.

Bentley has many major projects under its belt, including several government facilities. One of them is located right here in Portsmouth: the new 23,000-square-foot R.I. Department of Transportation’s maintenance facility on Boyd’s Lane.

Bentley also constructed a major addition to the R.I. Fire Academy Training Facility in Exeter and worked on a major renovation of the Dr. Johannes Virks Building in Cranston. The company has also had its hands in many projects involving corporate, healthcare, educational, hospitality, athletic and historical ​buildings.

Mark Zawatsky of ABM Group of Warwick, which the town hired in March to be its owner’s representative during construction, requested the town choose Bentley Builders. 

He noted that under Bentley’s proposal, completion of the new station is targeted for Sept. 1, 2018 — the earliest estimate from any bidder. One bidder, Calson Construction, proposed an end date of Dec. 31, 2018 — nearly four months later.

“They’re much more aggressive than the other builders,” said Council President Keith Hamilton, referring to Bentley. “Are you comfortable with that?”

Mr. Zawatsky responded that although it’s difficult to predict the weather, as long as the Oct. 1 start date is met, he’s confident Bentley will get the job done within the promised timeframe.

“We’re very comfortable that the contractor will meet their deadlines,” he said. “These are well-respected construction specialists.”

Bentley will also be responsible for taking down the current police station, he said. “It includes the construction of the new building as well as the abatement and demolition of the existing building in phase two. It’s all going to be done in one sequence,” he said.

Can’t exceed $10M

The six companies also gave several “alternate” proposals in addition to the base bid. 

These proposals called for extra expenditures should the town choose to pursue those building plans. Mr. Hamilton, however, stressed that the overall cost of the project can’t exceed the $10 million authorized by voters.

“There is no more money. It’s $10 million — take it or leave it,” he said.

Mr. Zawatsky said the town’s Building Committee met with Bentley Builders on Sept. 6, during which several cost-reducing options were discussed. “We’re going to make further adjustments to this as necessary to stay under the cap,” he said.

All that’s left now is to begin work on the new station.

“We look forward to putting shovels into the ground by Oct. 1,” said Mr. Hamilton.

Portsmouth police station, Portsmouth Town Council, Portsmouth Police Department