Bureau County Law Enforcement Center progressing one year out

PRINCETON – Bureau County’s new law enforcement center is about half complete after one year.

Sheriff Jim Reed said construction is about 55% to 60% complete as of this month, according to the most recent payment schedule.

Reed said that as of mid-December, all the HVAC units have been installed and roofing is complete, with the exception of a few minor issues that still need to be addressed.

The project’s lead architect Henry Pittner of BKV Group reported to the board previously that there were unexpected drainage and other issues once teardown of the original roof started that drove costs up, but his firm would work with the county to mitigate some of the added costs.

Additionally, the contractor discovered a mold problem once they began opening up walls, which resulted in some unanticipated delays and extra costs.

“Any time you put a new building onto an existing building there can be issues like this, but we are happy with how things are progressing,” Reed said. “At this point, we don’t anticipate coming in under budget. There have been some change orders and issues within the project but everyone involved is working to keep it as close to on track as possible.”

Reed said they have made good on that promise, pointing out that “everyone has skin in the game,” and BKV has worked with the county to keep the project close to budget.

“There also have been some increases in material costs, which is not unexpected, but the [county] board has been made aware of all the change orders,” he said.

The estimated cost of the new law enforcement center is expected to come in around $12 million.

At this point, Reed said the completion date is still somewhat up in the air – general contractor Vissering Construction of Streator is estimating some time between April and November of next year. Because of supply interruptions related to the pandemic, they’re not able to narrow down a more specific estimate, he said.

Reed reports that the housing units for both men and women are about 90% completed, and the kitchen and laundry units for the facility are about 95% done.

How the kitchen will be used still is up in the air, he said, partly because of budgetary issues. As the project nears completion, finances will determine whether meal service for inmates will be done in house or contracted out. Currently, Foxhole Kitchens of Tiskilwa is the bid contractor for meal services.

In the administrative wing, offices are being drywalled and painted. Windows and other updates were done this past spring.

“Moving in will be a major transition,” Reed said. “We’re considering our options and developing a plan for moving both administration and inmates. We have to train our staff on how the new facility runs. We had to design it around our policies, and there are a lot of things that had to be considered and reconsidered during the design phase.”