After discussing ways to reduce construction costs, Leavenworth city commissioners decided Tuesday to make no changes to the design of a new Animal Control facility.
No official action was taken during what was a study session. But commissioners reached a consensus to leave the construction plans as they are.
When commissioners discussed the project Feb. 5, they asked Police Chief Pat Kitchens and architect Rick Kuhl to look for ways to reduce the cost of the building.
Kitchens met with commissioners again Tuesday to discuss proposals for reducing the cost. Leavenworth Animal Control is part of the Police Department.
The total project is estimated to cost $2.5 million. Kitchens said the cost saving measures he presented Tuesday dealt only with the construction of the building, which is estimated to cost $2.06 million.
At the start of Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Larry Dedeke said commissioners weren't anticipating a reduction of anything on the inside of the building. He said what commissioners looked at during their earlier meeting were changes to the exterior.
Kitchens said based on the discussion during the Feb. 5 meeting, he believed commissioners wanted a general reduction in cost, focusing principally on the exterior and aesthetic look of the building.
The police chief presented several possibilities for reducing the cost including using vinyl siding instead of split concrete masonry, brick and engineered wood siding. The other options included the elimination of things such as a fire sprinkler system, security fencing for employee parking and a community room.
He also suggested the design of the building could be changed to a "pole barn" construction.
This change and other options presented would reduce the construction estimate to about $1.745 million, according to Kitchens.
He said cutting the community room conflicts with the idea of not reducing the size of the building. Commissioners indicated Feb. 5 that they were OK with the planned size of the new facility.
Plans for the new Animal Control center call for the building to be more than 7,700 square feet. The existing animal shelter is about 5,300 square feet.
Commissioner Davis Moulden said he didn't like the idea of eliminating the sprinkler system for the building.
"If that building catches fire, you're going to lose every one of those animals," he said.
His comments drew applause from audience members.
The audience was larger than what is typical for a City Commission meeting.
Commissioner Mark Preisinger said the Commission charged the police chief with finding ways to reduce cost while keeping the functionality of the building.
Kitchens said the only proposed option that would change the functionality is the elimination of the community room. He later said the community room can be used for things such as staff training, animal adoption events, dog obedience courses and activities related to the city's deer management program. He also said the space can serve as an employee break room.
Preisinger said he agreed with the need for the sprinkler system.
Commissioner Phil Urban also said he was against removing the sprinkler system.
"I think that would be an important thing to keep," he said.
He also said the community room is probably important.
Commissioners discussed the idea of using asphalt shingles instead of a metal roof, which was one of the options presented by Kitchens.
Dedeke eventually suggested leaving the plans the way they previously had been presented.
He said the issue originally was brought up in an attempt to save the city money. But as commissioners discussed which things they wanted to keep, they were "almost back to our original cost."
After Dedeke made the suggestion, Preisinger said the Commission had done its job in pulling the project apart to see if there were
opportunities for saving money. And he said there aren't many.
Urban also said the commissioners had been doing their job in studying the matter.
"If we don't do this, we're not doing our job," he said.
The matter will be brought back to commissioners for formal authorization to proceed with the project.
Moulden objected to the proposed location for the new facility.
"It's an old dump," he said.
The plans call for the building to be constructed on city-owned land near the Leavenworth Price Chopper store.
Moulden said he preferred building the Animal Control center near the Municipal Service Center.
Preisinger said the planned site near Price Chopper has been evaluated by professional geologists and architects.