Kitty Hawk council hears from architects for new police facility

Published 12:34 pm Thursday, April 20, 2023

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During their monthly meeting on April 3, Kitty Hawk’s Town Council members heard from Dills Architects in regard to design services for the proposed Kitty Hawk police station renovation plan.

The Town of Kitty Hawk purchased the Sentara Medical facility for $4.1 million in September of 2022 with intentions of remodeling and renovating the space to accommodate a larger, up-to-date town police station. At their last meeting in March, council members opted to hear more from the architects prior to moving forward with plans. Anna Campbell and Clay Dills brought forth an updated schematic design and fleshed-out price breakdown to share with the council.

“We took a harder look … now that we’re getting serious about how we’re going to build something and how we’re going to do this, and about what those costs really look like,” Dills shared in regard to the newly refined design. Stressing that the proposed numbers were “conservative,” Dills reassured council that anything unwanted or not needed could be removed prior to sending the project out to bid.

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The proposed all-in cost of the project is $472,513. As for the design services alone, that proposed cost amounts to $351,813.

Councilman David Hines was skeptical of certain costs included within the design service proposal, noting the $163,928 fee for design documents. “That’s a big number for a building that is preexisting.” Hines made mention to his thoughts that the proposal was indicative of a new building as opposed to renovated space a few times throughout the discussion. Dills countered by explaining how in a project such as this, the best way to save money is to reduce new additions and renovated area. “We’re trying to make sure the department gets what they need and we’re trying to use that building to the best that we possible could.”

The design proposal parcels out the project into three phases, the first of which is inclusive of a good majority of the space, a combination of renovations and “small new additions,” according to Campbell. Her projection for completion of phase one was approximately 12 months. The approximated square footage for the new facility is 16,360 sq. ft., which includes the addition of a firing range and two-story structural steel framed lobby.

Mayor Craig Garriss inquired about hiring local contractors and laborers for the job, to which Dills was in favor of, offering to identify subcontractors and offer this project as a competitive low-bid. Dills noted that the “most successful” projects of this caliber utilize a percentage of local workforce.

Councilwoman Charlotte Walker was wary: “Have we done ourselves a disservice by trying to renovate something that is preexisting? Have we caused our design issues to be more expensive than if you were just building?” Dills assured the board that renovating was the way to go when it comes to saving money. He did admit that from a design standpoint, the team “could have done a better job at how to reuse the space” early on. “… And that’s why when we went back to the table and we took a really hard look at it in the office and said there’s money to be saved in here.”

“We went to several people to get a lowest cost,” Campbell pitched in. She explained how the team went over their proposed PME number (plumbing, mechanical and electrical services) with several different companies to get the lowest number, “by a substantial amount.”

In closing, Garriss thanked the team. “We have got decisions to make … we need to talk to our manager and have discussions with the finance office. We want something our town will be proud of but we’re not going to break our bank.”

Before heading into a closed session, the board heard from one member of the community during public comment. Sandra Stanley approached the council with concerns about a possible addition to the town dog park. “We’re a little concerned it may either shrink or additional entertainment put in … we’re hoping that there would not be a drastic change.”

In follow-up, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Pruitt addressed Stanley, assuring the community that there are no planned changes coming to the park. “Dare County owns the dog park and skate park,” he started, “but we work together, and primarily it is us in this council.” Pruitt ensured that the board had no intentions of modifying the park.