So far, construction on O’Fallon’s new Justice Center is running $1.7 million under budget, and the city council has voted to use part of the savings for additions to the building design.
At last week’s city council meeting, project manager Chris Clerkx gave an update on the new police department/municipal court building, reporting that the project was running significantly under budget. He told the board that if they wanted consider adding a previously-eliminated second-floor training room back into the plans, the decision would need to be made immediately, as they had a deadline of early July for the steel order.
The additional 880 square feet on the second floor was item #1 on Clerkx’s “wish list.” Other items he asked the council to consider were an additional bay in the sally port at a cost of $73,000 and an increased budget for IT.
Councilman Bob Howell was not initially on board with the changes. “This is the taxpayers’ money,” he said. “I don’t want the ‘wants’ until we take care of the ‘needs.’ It’s not a bad thing to save the taxpayers a few million dollars.”
Councilman Rose Mack echoed Howell’s sentiments, saying that she had problems with the tendency to spend any savings just because something came in under budget.
Mack was swayed when Councilman Dave Hinman suggested that the combined cost of the adjustments would still leave “a million in the pool.”
The Council voted to approve the second floor addition and the sally port bay and hold off on the addition to the IT budget until more of the work and equipment is under contract.