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Information about the Protective Services Building renovation project

Post Date:04/15/2021 7:53 AM

The Protective Services Building renovation project has gone over budget, but the County is exploring options to cover the increased expenditure.

At Tuesday's Council meeting, Administration presented to Council on the new Protective Services Building (formerly La Biche Ford), which the County purchased for $4.2 million. Back in November 2019 when the building was acquired, the County estimated that $800,000 would be needed to renovate the building for Fire Services, Peace Officers, and search & rescue services. This would have resulted in a total project cost of $5 million.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many of these renovation estimates were low: in some cases, materials and supplies doubled or even tripled in price. Drainage problems at the building, pavement prices, building construction issues, computer and other information technology costs, and engineering services increases all pushed the renovation cost beyond the original $800,000. 

An additional $682,000 is required to complete the project. This brings the total project, including the original purchase, to $5,682,000, up from the original $5 million estimated.

At yesterday’s meeting, Council directed Administration to identify options within the 2021 operational budget to cover the extra expenditures and landscaping costs necessary to complete the project. Due to COVID-19 continuing to delay and change County programs and services, Administration is exploring ways to adjust our operations to accommodate this extra cost.

We’d like to emphasize, however, that even with this increased cost, the new Protective Services Building still costs approximately $192 per square foot for 29,564 square feet of space. Construction on a new building would have cost between $350 to $400 per square foot. The County still ends up with savings and more square footage to accommodate existing and future County operations. Its central location in the hamlet of Lac La Biche, along with the space around the building, also present unique advantages.

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