Cost Estimate for Remainder of Police Station Window Project Tops $1.2M

Scaffolding wrapping the Haverhill Police Station could be in place for another 14 months or more before the project is finished.

Purchasing Agent Steven S. Bucuzzo told city councilors Tuesday it will take at least $1.2 million to complete masonry repairs and to replace 42 windows at the Haverhill Police Station.

His estimate is consistent with Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro’s projection reported by WHAV last May.

“People can’t fathom that this is $28,000 per window,” said Councilor Michael S. McGonagle.

The city has already spent more than $600,000 to replace 24 windows and substandard masonry work that were allowing water to infiltrate the walls and ceilings of the station, built 20 years ago.

Councilor Colin F. LePage said the original estimate was about $900,000, meaning the project is already more than $600,000 over budget.

Bucuzzo said the best way to control costs is to complete the remaining work in a single phase.

“Generally breaking any large project into smaller pieces ends up costing more over time,” Bucuzo said. “It’s a matter of balancing priorities. Municipalities have funding issues that they have to work around. The city only has so much bonding capacity it can realistically assume.”

Councilors, including LePage, McGonagle and Vice President Melinda Barrett, emphasized the need to fund the remainder of the project to manage costs as much as possible.

But Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the city faces a number of capital projects that will require him to balance this project against the city’s other needs.

“It’s fine if you want that to be your top priority, but that means the Consentino School or the Tilton School can’t be your top priority,” Fiorentini said.

LePage and Councilor William J. Macek disagreed with the mayor, saying it’s possible to do both.

The city has requested reimbursement from the state’s School Building Authority for renovations and an addition to the Consentino School.

Councilors also expressed frustration with the pace of the project.

“I don’t understand the hesitation when you have a building that’s in trouble. You wouldn’t do it with your own home,” Barrett said.

But the mayor said his irritation has nothing to do with the speed of the project.

“I’m not outraged that it hasn’t been done quicker, I’m outraged that it has to be done at all. The construction was done in a shoddy manner 20 years ago,” Fiorentini said. “I apologize to the taxpayers for having to pay for this. I think this is absolutely an outrage.”

Macek believes those who built the station and approved the work were delinquent in their responsibility to the city.

“This borders on, or probably is, criminal. The contractors are supposed to be qualified and bonded. I don’t know why there’s no pocket for us to seek remediation from,” Macek said. “This work never should have been signed off by the clerk of the works. That person more than anyone should be held responsible.”

According to a plaque in the station lobby, the clerk of the works for the project was John Arena. The contractor on the job, Palladium Construction of Wakefield, has since gone out of business.

Bucuzzo said the estimated timeline to finish the project, if done all at once, is about 14 months, and should be complete in November 2018. One issue is the time needed to order and receive the windows, which are specialized and take six to eight weeks to manufacture, Bucuzzo said.


8 thoughts on “Cost Estimate for Remainder of Police Station Window Project Tops $1.2M

  1. “’People can’t fathom that this is $28,000 per window,’ said Councilor Michael S. McGonagle.” He’s correct. I as one taxpayer would appreciate an explanation. Are the windows being made to be able to deflect an RPG? I understand they’re custom-made, but can the window openings be bricked up a little to accommodate a standard window?

  2. Those who want to know the whole story, including the council, though most of you knew this YEARS ago, can read about it :

    Yes is was criminal and the city holds responsibility for allowing an occupancy permit ALL THE TIME KNOWING the building was leaking water. ALL THE TIME KNOWING there were serious issues that continued since it was built, nothing was done. The MAYOR ignored this facility for two decades. Now all of a sudden he is mad ?? Are you kidding me Mr. Mayor ?? Where was the council for the last several years on this ? AWOL

  3. When Harbor Place was being build Jimmy Taxes was going around bragging about all the good union jobs it was providing. How’s that support of unions working out for ya now, Jimmy? $600K over budget and counting. The last thing Jimmy wants is to complete this project quickly. That would be “killing the job” for all his union buddies.

    I’m surprised to hear Bucuzzo say “it will take at least $1.2 million to complete masonry repairs…”. Usually when you hear the words “at least” from anyone working in a government job that means the costs will be double.

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