The Plympton Public Safety Building Committee met Wednesday, Feb. 8, starting with Daniel Palotta from P-3 in Norwell discussing his and Police Chief Patrick Dillon’s visit to the Hampden Police Station, which was built about six months ago.
The Hampden station is roughly 7,000 square feet in size. Palotta said, “We asked if we could bring the chief to see a police station that was smaller than we had considered to be utopia for Plympton yet served a similar police population.” Palotta continued that Chief Dillon was impressed with the Hampden station.
According to the Finance Committee, Plympton cannot afford to go over $3 million for the cost of the police station. Palotta expressed that it would be better to go below this.
Hamden paid $3 million for their police station, but Hamden had a 911 dispatch center on site. Since Plympton regionalizes their emergency dispatch to the Regional Old Colony Communication Center in Duxbury, this won’t be necessary and should cut costs. Palotta says it may cut cost in space, but will certainly cut costs in terms of IT.
Palotta had a designer draw up something similar to the Hampden Police Station for the committee to look over. He said that with all this in mind, coming in on budget is possible, but they’ll have to build the station on flat land and there will probably have to be less parking.
As far as flat spots go, it was determined by P-3 that the most practical and cost efficient spot would be between the baseball field and the back of the town hall. The committee admitted this spot was never considered ideal, especially from a traffic perspective.
Board of Health Chairman Art Morin says, “In talking with the highway surveyor, I see a problem with the way we have it now and people coming in and out of the town hall and the police department coming around if they have an emergency.” The proposed location seems as though it would make the problem worse.
However, creating new entrance ways would add to the cost of the police station. Palotta says he can’t promise the budget with that. He further added that Hamden’s site was on flat land with a wide entrance.
Chief Dillon said that the parking lot has been a hazard in all of his 15 years with the Plympton Police Department. “We have lights and sirens to warn people. Do I like it? No. Can we live with it? Yes, We need a new building.”
Palotta told the committee that this was significant progress getting the cost down to the $3 million. He says, “Dighton’s police station costs $4.5 million and is not much bigger than this.”
One thing to note is that Hampden’s police station did not include any sprinkler systems. The committee was under the impression that this was mandated because the cells are considered residential. At the Nov. 30, 2016 meeting, the committee tried discussing ways to cut cost on the sprinkler system by potentially using one tank for both the police and fire station.
Hampden however does not keep anyone arrested overnight. This was a way to get around the sprinkler requirement because the station was not deemed residential. According to P-3, the building inspector would also have to agree with this assessment.
The issues will continue to be discussed at the next meeting on Wednesday Feb. 22.