Costs may rise for Bainbridge’s new police station/courthouse if ‘green building’ design is pursued

Bainbridge Island officials hope to begin construction on the makeover of CHI Franciscan’s medical clinic building on Madison Avenue into a new police station and municipal court next summer.

But efforts to fashion the remodel into a statement of sustainability — if approved by the council — will come with a hefty price tag, according to city officials: $800,000 or more.

Bainbridge has long talked about finding a new home for its outdate police station on Winslow Way — a converted fire hall — as well as a permanent location for the city’s municipal court, now housed in a leased facility in Rolling Bay.

Renovating the medical clinic into a police station/courthouse was a last choice for the city, and came after examinations of other locations fell through and a $15 million bond request for a location near city hall was rejection by voters in November 2015.

The city has been considering the Harrison building as the new home for the city’s police force since late 2017, when officials received an unsolicited offer from CHI that suggested a potential retrofit of the building.

The council approved the purchase of the property for $8.975 million from CHI Franciscan in late March on a 4-3 vote.

The city has set the budget for the police station/court project at $20 million; funding will come from the city’s general fund, its Real Estate Excise Tax Fund, and previously appropriated funding.

City officials said permitting for the changeover of the building is in process, and the city’s Design Review Board signed off on the project at its meeting last week.

The design for the extensive remodel is expected to be finished in the spring.

Construction is expected to take a year, according to a staff update prepared for the city council this week.

CHI’s Harrison medical building on Bainbridge was built in 2014. Limited changes are planned to the structure’s shell, and officials said the renovation of the interior of the building will be done in compliance with Washington state’s updated energy standards.

Officials also note the property already boasts “green stormwater infrastructure” from its original development, including a rain garden, permeable pavement that lets stormwater pass through, and a storm-filter system. An existing wetland on the property has already been protected.

Greening up the makeover even more includes limitations on what can be done with the current building, as well as concerns over higher costs.

Outfitting the structure for solar power generation, however, may prove to be problematic. City officials have noted that the roof would need to be upgraded, and the building does not have ideal orientation for solar exposure.

Completing the project so it meets “green building” standards will also be challenging. City officials indicate that meeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or other green certification standards may require at least another $150,000 in additional design costs. Construction costs would also rise, by an estimated 10 percent, or $660,000.

Those increased costs for meeting green certification requirements could be greater than $800,000, according to a city estimate.

The Bainbridge council will get an update on the police station/court project at its meeting this week.

The council will meet earlier than usual this week, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 at city hall.

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