Here's #2 in the oh-so-fascinating four-part Salem Can Do Better series, "Our Marion County Voter's Pamphlet arguments against Measure 24-399."
(If you missed part 1, it's readily available for viewing.)
This Voter's Pamphlet argument features Geoffrey James, a Salem architect with over 50 years of experience. I've come to know Geoff well after serving with him on the Salem Community Vision steering committee for the past three years -- where we've followed every twist and turn in the police facility planning saga.
One of Geoff's claims to fame is how he and fellow SCV steering committee member Gene Pfeifer, a design-build specialist, played key roles in reducing the cost of fixing the Courthouse Square building by tens of millions of dollars.
Here's an excerpt from Geoff's "credentials" page:
In 2011 he was appointed Chair of the Courthouse Square Technical Committee. This is a Marion County office building that had serious structural problems. Consultants said it would cost $65M to fix it. Geoff found a way to fix it for 1/3 of that, i.e. saving the County some $35M. That is his style, i.e. always finding a way for the building owner to get true value and protecting their investment. He has a track record of achieving affordably low construction costs, by careful and innovative design and by always putting the client's interest first. Affordable and Responsible is his motto, and it shows in his achievements of buildings that cost less to build, but fit the client's detailed needs.
So when Geoffrey James urges a NO vote on Measure 24-399, because there is a much better way to build a new Salem police facility, voters should pay attention to this knowledgeable architect.
Vote NO on the over-priced $82 million police facility bond
I’m a Salem architect with over 50 years of experience. I know how to design buildings. Please, vote NO on Measure 24-399 so a better-planned police facility can be built for much less money.
The Police Department needs a new headquarters. But it should be 75,000 to 106,000 square feet in size, as a citizen’s Task Force on the Police Facility I served on recommended.
Unfortunately, City officials hired a Chicago consulting firm that ignored this recommendation. The DLR Group came up with a plan for a 148,000 square foot building: double the size and double the cost.
This over-sized building will cost taxpayers $348 per square foot to construct. By comparison, the State Police recently built a facility in Salem that cost only $150 per square foot, using a tilt-up concrete construction method.
An alternative procurement approach like “design-build” also could greatly reduce the construction cost.
A city councilor applauded the wasteful $82 million, 148,000 square foot plan, saying it is the “full meal deal.”
This is why I urge you to vote NO on it. City officials went along with every item on the Chicago consultants’ extravagant wish list:
— A parking structure costing $26,000 per space, rather than much less expensive surface parking.
— A new $11 million 911 Center, disregarding a financial analysis that said continuing to lease space for the Center will save money over the next 30 years. Also, Salem taxpayers would pay the whole construction bill even though the 911 Center serves many other jurisdictions.
— Adding space for double the number of new future officers than the Salem Police Department historically has added per year, so much of the square footage in the over-sized $82 million building won’t be needed.
Salem can’t afford wasteful government spending. Vote NO on Measure 24-399.
and Salem Can Do Better