PORTSMOUTH — The Town Council Monday night tentatively selected Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc. (DRA) to be the architectural firm for the new police station approved by voters last month.
It’s the same firm the town hired last year to study future infrastructure needs for the police and fire departments. DRA recommended a new 20,0000-square-foot, two-story police station to be built on land behind the current building on East Main Road.
Portsmouth voters overwhelmingly approved a $10 million bond issue to build a new station that will replace the current one on East Main Road. The current 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, Police Chief Thomas Lee said.
The request for qualifications (RFQ) for architects was issued Oct. 25 and there were 12 bidders, according to Richard Talipsky, the town’s director of business development. An evaluation team made up of Mr. Talipsky, Chief Lee, Interim Finance Director David Faucher, School Committee member Allen Shers and Public Works Deputy Director Brian Woodhead studied each proposal.
Drummey scored the highest, followed by RGB Architects and Kaestle-Boos Associates, Inc., he said, and those firms were brought in for interviews and reference checks.
Responded ‘in full’
DRA was selected in part, he said, because it was the only bidder that responded “in full” to the RFQ. Kaestle-Boos and RGB both excluded some information that had been required, Mr. Talipsky said.
Local resident Larry Fitzmorris said he hopes the architect will be responsible for overseeing the construction of the station. “He’s better equipped to give the town a heads-up if we’re getting intro trouble,” Mr. Fitzmorris said.
Mr. Talipsky replied that DRA has given assurances that it’s committed to close, onsite supervision.
Council member David Gleason, noting that RGB scored only two fewer points than DRA in the technical evaluation, asked whether the town could negotiate with two parties at once.
Interim Finance Director David Faucher said the general practice is to negotiate first with the selected bidder. If that doesn’t work out you move to the next company on the list, he said. “You don’t negotiate with two at the same time,” Mr. Faucher said.
The council voted unanimously to entered contract negotiations with DRA.
According to a report prepared by Mr. Talipsky, construction on the new station is estimated to start in nine months and be completed by December 2018 or January 2019.
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