Renovations to transform the old Mint Hill Town Hall into a new Mint Hill Police Department could cost more than $2 million.
Town commissioners approved a $2,043,036 budget Thursday, March 14, to transform the old town hall into a new police department. Construction costs will be capped at $1,758,036 thanks to an agreement approved by commissioners with Edifice General Contractors, who was hired to oversee the project. The town pays $5,800 per month in rent for the police department’s current 5,520-square-foot space at 7200 Matthews-Mint Hill Road.
Renovation work started Monday, March 18, Town Manager Brian Welch said.
The project will be paid for with money from the town’s fund balance, or savings account. Even after paying for the renovations, the town will have about $3 million in the bank, Welch said. Commissioners voted March 14 to reduce their self-imposed fund balance minimum from 40 percent to 25 percent. The state requires municipalities to save a minimum of 8 percent of their revenue. Matthews’ policy requires the town to save a minimum of 34 percent, spokeswoman Annette Privette Keller said.
“In no way does this endanger the town,” Welch said of the policy change. “We’re going to pay cash for this one unless we get hit with some craziness and I don’t think we will. I’m pleased with where we are.”
At least 10 percent of the crews who work on the project must come from small, women or minority-owned businesses, according to a Mint Hill policy. The new Mint Hill Town Hall project, also led by Edifice, was completed with 28 percent participation by these types of businesses, according to Edifice.
Edifice recently opened bids from 91 companies vying to work on the project. Unlike private projects, government entities are required to take the lowest bidder. Three of the low bidders – Mr. Doorman, First Choice Glass and Abaco – worked on the new town hall at 4430 Mint Hill Village Lane. Of the low bidders, only one company is based in Mint Hill – GTM Mechanical. Edifice officials, however, are encouraging all companies to hire Mint Hill-based subcontractors, Edifice’s Andy Aldridge said.
Draft plans approved by commissioners show a public parking lot with at least seven spaces being built on the front corner of the building next to the driveway.
Police officers and other department employees will park behind the building in a gated lot accessible with a security card.
According to the draft plans, the breezeway will be closed and the area used as a lobby with a reception desk featuring bullet-resistant glass and walls with fiberglass and steel plates inside them. Administrative offices will be where town offices were, with a few walls removed.
The old council chamber will be used as a conference and training room and the restrooms will be renovated with lockers added. A small conference room will be used for evidence storage and include a sprinkler system.
Soundproof interrogation rooms also will be added.
Also included in the plans:
• Pressure wash existing stone facade, possibly using a sealer or paint to protect from elements
• Replace broken window seals
• Repair roof leaks around vents
• Cover stone columns
• Cover “Mint Hill Town Hall” name on front; add seal or emblem on front glass
• Fix cracked, loose bricks