As preparations continue for the relocation of the Tehachapi Police Department, city officials have begun contemplating how to use the station on Robinson Street that is expected to be vacant in the spring.
The City Council approved a contract with RRM Design Group on Monday, Dec. 2, to draw up remodeling plans for the building -- which was once Tehachapi's City Hall -- and determine the best use of space.
City Manager Greg Garrett said the design experts will meet with city staff to determine how both the space in the current police station and City Hall, which is right next door, could best be apportioned. Garrett said he envisions a hallway connecting the two buildings, each of which is about 2,500 square feet.
City staff would likely occupy offices in the two buildings, while a single reception area could serve residents and customers, Garrett explained.
He stressed that the project is not really a renovation of the police building, but an effort to see how to effectively use existing space.
"It's not about making it a Taj Mahal," Garrett said. "We would rather use the money to build up our infrastructure."
The firm tasked with the research is based in San Luis Obispo. Garrett said the city has an established relationship with RRM, as the company also consulted with the city on the remodel of the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum before it burned and designed the initial downtown revitalization about 10 years ago.
Assistant City Manager Chris Kirk filled in for City Engineer Jay Schlosser to present the services agreement to the council. In the report, city staff listed the proposed fee as $15,860.
The contract, however, states that fee only covers the hourly rates of the two RRM officials who are scheduled to do the work, and that RRM will ask the city to reimburse certain expenses at cost plus 10 percent. Those expenses include transportation, lodging, meals, automobile travel and renderings or models.
Garrett said including reimbursement for travel is standard in such a contract. He said he expects the actual cost of the research project will be "plus or minus a couple thousand dollars" in addition to the proposed fee rate.
"The city dictates how many times they will come to the city," the city manager said.
Money for the study was budgeted in to the capital project budget under the new police building funds as $3.3 million at the beginning of the city's fiscal year in July, Garrett said.
"We are well within our budget with the Aspen Builders contract," Garrett said.
The contract awarded to Aspen Builders in June amounts to just less than $2.9 million, with an allowance for change orders of $144,026.
Garrett estimated the research work would be completed within the next two months and would bring the plans before the Council at that time.