Inflation Balloons Casper Police Department Renovations By 52% To $38 million

City of Casper officials say inflation has ballooned the price of renovating police department space by 52% to $38 million.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

December 04, 20233 min read

The current Casper Business Center at 123 W. First Street will be the future home of the Casper Police Department, after extensive renovations expected to cost $38 million are complete.
The current Casper Business Center at 123 W. First Street will be the future home of the Casper Police Department, after extensive renovations expected to cost $38 million are complete. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — The city’s plans for bringing all of its police department functions under one roof is getting a bit of sticker shock.

Updated estimates to renovate the Caper Business Center has come in at $38 million, more than 50% over a pre-pandemic estimate of around $25 million.

City Manager J. Carter Napier said the big difference in the cost estimates is inflation of materials associated with the project.

“We’re breaking it up in phases to match available funding,” he said about how the city is dealing with having to come up with $13 million more.

Actual construction will not start until the next fiscal year, which beings July 1 and it expected to take at least two years.

The Plans

Plans call for city offices now temporarily located in the Casper Business Center at 123 1st St. to move back into City Hall at 200 N. David St. next summer. After those offices leave, renovations on the eight-story Casper Business Center would begin.

At least five floors will bring police services, dispatch and IT under one roof.

The capital budget for the police department this year is $21.4 million, a portion of it for the new building. Money within that budget designated for the new home would be rolled over to the next fiscal year.

Members of the City Council agreed with the concept of a construction-manager-at-risk (CMAR) approach recommended by city CEO Thomas Brauer. Using that method will allow for greater cost management than just putting the project out to bid. A construction manager will cost between $50,000 and $70,000.

“You hire a construction manager during the design phase so the design is designed in a way to collaborate with construction people at the table.,” Napier said. “For us, the primary difference is having the construction manager at the table ahead of bidding and having better control of the numbers we can expect at bidding.”

Wise Idea

City Councilor Steve Cathey agrees the CMAR concept will help ensure better use of resources.

“He would be tracking the costs all the way through wo we know all the costs … where prices are supposed to be,” he said. “It makes perfect sense for the ways we have seen material escalation and all that stuff. We’re only going to spend $25 million and we’re going to do it in phases.”

Napier said despite the price hike, the project is important to prepare the city for future needs as well as be efficient with available resources and management. Police functions are now spread out across four buildings.

“The advantages will be consolidating the operations of the department under one roof … and having the space for the department into the future,” he said. “Twenty or 30 years from now we should not have to be looking for the space in the community for what our police would need to be.”

Casper’s Police Department now operates out of 201 N. David St. but its future home will be at the Casper Business Center.
Casper’s Police Department now operates out of 201 N. David St. but its future home will be at the Casper Business Center. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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