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It is a communication antenna (tower). The tower is not part of the proposed Police Station project's budget or construction costs. The Historic Districts Commission is working with the project team to determine the right location and appropriateness of the tower.
The tower is an entirely separate project and has been in discussion since 2017. At that time the former Fire Chief (Wilson) and the former Director of Public Facilities (Goddard) brought the fire department's ladder truck behind the police station and extended the ladder as far as it could go with a balloon tied to the end to represent the proposed height of a 120 foot tower. This was a public event with many in attendance. The proposed antenna will be 5 feet in diameter and 120 feet tall and is proposed to be located in the parking area behind the Police Station, the final location is still to be determined.
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A space study was performed in 2010 by Donham & Sweeney Architects who recommended a new Police Station should be appropriately sized at 28,306 square feet. The current design is 30,000, which includes the additional 4,000 square feet added at the completion of the Community Conversations on Policing. The Police Department has been operating with a woefully inadequately sized building for the past 30+ years. Lastly, the building has been built with flexibility for future use given the likely nature of change within the industry.
The global pandemic has caused significant disruptions in supply chains, and exacerbated a shortage of skilled trade workers. The result of these forces has created significant cost escalation in the construction market. In some cases, up to 20% cost increases in a single year. Two years will have passed since this project was paused so that the community could engage in an important conversation on policing, and the time of the anticipated bidding of this project over the summer of 2022. That is two years of construction cost escalation through an unprecedented period of market change.
Full Question: Can you please detail the cost increase to taxpayers with median home value as well as $500K, $2M and $3M increments? Could you also please provide the revised timeline of estimated tax increases that include the Police Station, Community Preservation Act, and Lexington High School estimates (and other potential or known Capital debt items)?
Please see the Town Manager’s Memo (PDF) to the Select Board that addresses these questions.
The materials proposed are used to keep this building complementary to the Town Office Building and Cary Memorial Building. The intent was not to match them exactly, or to try to make it feel old, but rather to make it fit with the aesthetic of the other two buildings. Given that it is a public safety building, we are using state-of-the-art materials to ensure structural resilience above that of other buildings. These materials comply with the Town's Integrated Building and Construction Policy.
The building has been reviewed by the Historic Districts Commission, Select Board, Permanent Buildings Committee, Sustainable Lexington Committee and Design Advisory Committee. We are continually looking for ways to meet the project's needs as the lowest possible cost.
We have added a large and inviting lobby space to make the public feel safe and welcome to visit the building at any time. This lobby includes multiple seating areas, a private conference-style room for the community to come in to get advice, or report a crime in a more private setting, and a large front desk greeting area for walk-in visitors.
The lobby also has a large community/training room attached that can be used for community meetings, events, or department-sponsored training. A wing of office space has also been added for embedded social service programs to be added to the department. These spaces give the Department flexibility moving forward, as the Town's leadership continues working with residents to determine which services meet our community's needs.
The de-escalation training room will provide officers an opportunity to practice multiple levels of de-escalation techniques through a simulator that produces real-life scenarios officers may face. The simulator software takes into account the officer's verbal and physical reactions to either escalate or de-escalate a real life situation that has the potential to be volatile. Real-time correction and training can take place with each individual officer.
The height of the existing building is 33 feet from ridge to a point at grade at the base of the entry stair/ramp. The elevation of the ridge of the new building matches the height of the existing building.
There are a total of 2 floors, the first (lower) floor includes the main entrance, community/training room, restrooms, prisoner processing, dispatch, and the vehicle garage with maintenance bays. The second floor includes the detective bureau, administration, social services, locker rooms, the gym and mechanical/electrical/IT spaces.
Having the ability to store our patrol vehicles inside provides multiple benefits. It protects the Department's vehicle assets from the elements, contributing to longer life spans allowing us to keep them in the fleet longer. Inside storage allows officers to prepare the cruiser for the shift and get onto the street faster. There would be no need to clear snow from a vehicle that may not have been used on the prior shift. Secure inside storage also allows us the time-saving luxury of leaving some equipment in the cruiser when not in use, specifically AEDs (defibrillators), which are susceptible to damage in extreme heat or cold.
The space can accommodate nine vehicles.
Yes. The facility is being designed for future electric vehicle charging, including six "level 2" regular speed chargers, and three "level 3" fast chargers.
It does not. The Department currently utilizes our Hartwell Avenue training facility to complete required qualifications and other use of force and de-escalation training. This training is limited to seasonal use.
Yes, this building will fully comply with the Town's Integrated Building Design and Construction Policy. This building is an all-electric design and will strive for LEED silver standards or better. In addition to these stringent standards, the building will be specified with consideration of the Red List in four critical areas: concrete, thermal moisture protection, finishes and furnishings.
Red List building materials contain chemicals that have been designated as harmful to living creatures, including humans, or the environment.
This building will be built solar-ready. This means the infrastructure to add solar and battery backup systems can easily be added to the building when a project is approved. The facility design will include underground conduit, duct banks, hand holes, a separate room for all the electrical equipment, two switch gears, two transformers, and concrete pads for the equipment to be placed.
The plan is to start the construction of the new Police Station and work on the solar design with all of the relevant committees, including Historic Districts Commission, the Permanent Buildings Committee, Sustainable Lexington Committee and the Select Board. When the design is complete and all committees are in agreement, a separate Town Meeting article will be brought forward to town meeting (anticipating for fall of 2022) for approval.
There are two restrooms directly inside the entrance of the station for public use. There are two more restrooms in the lobby next to the community/training room for attendees of events held in the room.
All bathrooms in the proposed Police Station will be all-gender, except for the bathrooms that are located inside of the locker rooms. These bathrooms will match the gender of each of the 3 locker room (male, female, all-gender).
The proposed building is designed to accommodate the needs of our current 72 employees with enough room to accommodate any anticipated growth in the future.
The Hosmer House unfortunately will be too close to the proposed Police Station and will need to be relocated. The project team and the Select Board are working with the Town Manager to find an acceptable location for the house. There are a few possibilities; however, a final plan is not yet certain. To be clear and transparent, the house will not be demolished.
The tower would serve two purposes; one is for cell phone communications, and the second is the emergency communication supporting both Fire and Police, plus the Innovation and Technology Department. The tower is strategically placed in this location because of its ability to cover specific areas of town that are currently not covered by signal strength, plus it can point towards the water tower on Jean Road, the antenna at route 2 and 95, and the Avalon complex in Arlington.
The tower is only effective when it has direct line of sight, thus the required height of 120 feet. The tower could not be located at the Hartwell Avenue Composting Facility or the Public Services Building on Bedford Street because it would not be able to communicate with the other three towers, and would not cover the areas of town that do not see full signal coverage.
Full Question: While the requirements of the new station follow best practices for police station requirements, it has been asked about other new stations in the Massachusetts area. Their costs? Their size (Square feet). Belmont's new station? Action? Others?
We do not specifically know all the details about each project that could have an impact on overall size and cost.