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$6.5M low bid on new Wheeling Police headquarters

WHEELING — Bids on construction work on the new Wheeling Police Department headquarters were opened Wednesday, and city leaders said they were eager to see renovations commence on a project that has been in the planning stages for years.

During the most recent meeting of Wheeling City Council, an ordinance was approved authorizing the transfer of property through the new Wheeling Municipal Building Commission and approving finances for the project in an amount not to exceed $8 million.

The city will use money generated by the new city user fee — or municipal service fee — to pay off bonds being issued to finance the police headquarters project.

On Wednesday, bids for the work from six different contractors were opened by city leaders. The lowest base bid in the amount of $6,537,000 was submitted by Waller Corporation of Washington, Pa.

However, six different alternates were included with the bid packages, with each contractor submitting proposals for additional work for replacing windows, cleaning exterior masonry veneer, enlarging the sally port, lowering the roof height and locker system area heating, ventilation and air conditioning work, in addition to other alternate work outside the scope of renovations under the base bid contract.

Proposals from other contractors and their base bid amounts included those submitted by Colaianni Construction, $7,150,000; Fairchance Construction, $7,200,000; Grae-Con Construction, $6,857,000; Nello Construction, $7,017,000; and PCS & Build, $7,498,000. Bids are expected to be reviewed, and a recommendation will be forwarded to Wheeling City Council in August to award the contract and proceed with the project.

“It’s been a long journey, but I’m very, very proud to see this move to fruition,” Mayor Glenn Elliott said. “I can’t wait for that building to be open here in about 18 months or so.”

Over the past several years, city officials have been working to get the Wheeling Police Department out of cramped and outdated quarters inside the City-County Building on Chapline Street downtown. City voters rejected a $22 million public safety levy in 2018 that would have generated funds to build new headquarters for both the Wheeling Police and Fire departments, despite the fact that a majority of voters said “yes” to the measure.

The law requires 60% approval to pass such a levy, and the public safety measure garnered only 53% of voters supporting it.

In light of the failing majority vote, city leaders implemented the User Fee — a $2 per week fee for people working in city limits — at the beginning of 2020.

From this $2 per week fee, $1 from each contributor is designated to go toward construction of the new police and fire headquarters — along with related improvements, and the other $1 is intended to go toward various infrastructure projects in the city.

Council members noted that members of the police department will also welcome the new facility once it is completed.

“It seems like it’s been a long time that it took us to get here,” Councilman Dave Palmer said. “But congratulations to everybody. We’re getting closer every day.”

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