Nassau lawmakers Monday approved $28.5 million in contracts for new police station houses in Hewlett and Levittown to replace existing buildings that officials say are vulnerable to major storms.
The County Legislature's Rules Committee voted unanimously to award the two pacts, both of which lawmakers said will be federally funded: $13.1 million to Fortunato Sons Contracting of Bohemia for the new Fourth Precinct in Hewlett, and $15.4 million to VRD Contracting of Holbrook for a new Eighth Precinct in Levittown, which became a lower-staffed "community policing center" in 2012 in a countywide consolidation.
Each firm was the low bidder, and submitted total project costs below the county's initial estimates, officials said. Construction would begin early next year and be completed in 2017.
Nassau will fund the new station houses through a federal program that distributes money to repair and harden facilities damaged by superstorm Sandy. While both buildings sustained far less damage in the 2012 storm than many others owned by the county, officials said their age of nearly 60 years means that they likely wouldn't withstand another major event.
The new Fourth Precinct, which lost 30 feet of roofing shingles during Sandy, will be two stories and 25,000-square feet, replacing a 10,000-square foot station described as inadequate for current staff.
"They're exploding out of that building," said Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence)."This does give us room for expansion," said county project manager Robert LaBaw.The new Eighth Precinct will be three stories and 30,600-square feet, including upper-floor space for specialized police units, including detectives and the electronics squad that manages wiretaps.
The first floor will contain holding cells, interview rooms and other areas traditionally used for arrest processing, said acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, though it would not be a formal precinct.
"That building is really going to be a buzz of activity when you talk about the amount of policing," Krumpter said.
Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) questioned whether the new building could be converted back into a precinct should there be a future policy shift. County leaders in 2012 approved a plan to merge the police department's eight precincts into four, but have since reversed one of the mergers and scrapped plans for another.
"No matter what you're doing in the Eighth, you're not building a new precinct, you're building a new office building," Jacobs said at the meeting.
Krumpter replied that the new Levittown building would be flexible. "This isn't designed as a precinct, but it's a modern building that lends itself to a renovation," Krumpter said.