Costly change orders
Work has resumed on constructing a new Lehighton police station, thanks to the borough council approving change orders that could add tens of thousands of dollars to the project.
The change orders were necessary after it was reported last month that the project as designed by an architectural firm didn't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Uniform Construction Code.
In addition, the original project bids did not include a high efficiency gas boiler.
The change orders did not include the gas boiler, which will be placed out on bid.
The project was originally bid at $224,067. Change orders approved by the council total $28,079.
The gas boiler is expected to cost approximately $23,900.
Work was on hold for a short period until the council agreed to approve the change orders.
Councilman Scott Rehrig said with the change orders, work can continue on the project.
"We want to make sure that police station happens," he said.
The council has a $300,000 grant for the project and council members expressed intent to keep the project within that cost frame.
One proponent for the project is council member Melissa Ebbert, who last month remarked, "We have asked them (the police) to work in cramped quarters for how many years?"
Presently the police are located on the first floor of the Lehighton Municipal Building.
A 2004 police station study showed Lehighton police had just 805 square feet of footage, while Jim Thorpe police had 3,016 square feet and Palmerton police had 3,280 square feet of office space.
A new police station has been discussed for several decades in the borough, with the major problem being where to locate it.
The site for the new police headquarters will be the first floor of Station 2 of the Lehighton Fire Department. The fire department is planning to construct a new station.
In January, Borough Manager John C. Wagner said he hoped to have the new police station ready for occupancy by August. However, it's likely the change orders could extend that occupancy goal.