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Waco Police tower to get new windows, with $3.7 million in budget

Waco Police tower to get new windows, with $3.7 million in budget

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The city of Waco has set aside $3.7 million and will seek a contractor to replace the windows siding the Waco Police Department tower.

The project was left off the city’s bond-funded initial renovation of the former Hillcrest Medical Tower at 3115 Pine Ave., which it bought in 2010 for use as a new police headquarters. The work will include replacement of the single-pane glass on all sides of the 100,000-square-foot building with more energy-efficient double-pane glass, in addition to changes to the nonstructural “curtain wall” that holds the glass.

During a meeting Tuesday, the Waco City Council approved a competitive sealed proposal process to select a contractor. The city included $3.7 million for the work in last year’s budget, and officials hope to start accepting contractors’ proposals within the month.

Voters approved a $63 million bond package in 2007, with $13 million for the purchase and renovation of the police tower. The city paid $3 million for the tower, $260,000 for an adjacent parking garage and used the rest for renovations. The larger bond package also paid for a new West Waco Library, two new fire stations, and improvements at the Central Library, Waco Convention Center, Texas Ranger Museum, Cameron Park, South Waco Community Center, Brazos Park East and numerous neighborhood parks.

The police building’s windows and the structure that holds them in place are original to the tower, which was built in the 1970s, but the initial renovation budget was not enough to pay for their replacement, Assistant City Manager Ryan Holt said.

“It’s kind of the same reason why you do anything in stages,” Holt said. “There are operational and financial constraints when you do a project, and when those are prioritized you do some now and you do some later.”

The aesthetic reason for the project is readily apparent, said Derrick Oltmann, facilities project manager for the city.

“Those windows have aged quite substantially. … It’s not pretty and I think everyone knows that,” Oltmann said.

The building’s energy needs for heating and cooling also will go down when modern windows replace the current single-pane glass, he said.

“They are not as energy efficient since they are older windows,” Oltmann said. “And we are trying to improve not only the look, but their efficiency.”

Modifications to the structure that holds the glass in place is needed to accommodate the thicker double-pane windows, he said.

Improved gaskets and a coating giving the windows a slight tint also will boost efficiency, Holt said.

“We are striving to make everything as energy conscious as we can and I think that is an important step to be able to conserve energy if we can reasonably do a project that can help us achieve those goals,” Oltmann said.

City staff has been developing the project for about a year, he said.

The city is using a competitive sealed proposal process, which allows it to consider interested contractors’ qualifications and local experience, rather than other processes that would require accepting the lowest bid from any contractor capable of doing the project.

“The reason we have asked to be able to move forward in that manner is to ensure that we are able to obtain the most qualified but also the most financially responsible position,” Oltmann said. “We want to ensure we are hiring somebody who is able to do the project and has experience doing the projects and we can confirm that they are going to give the city, the police, and the citizens the most value for the cost.”

Oltmann said the city hopes to start getting proposals within a month and to have the project done by the middle of next year, though the timeline is not set in stone.

“Given time constraints of the construction market right now, we understand it might take longer than we want to,” Holt said.

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Hailing from the Chicagoland area, Amaris E. Rodriguez is a 2019 graduate of Northeastern Illinois University and formerly worked the Journal & Topics news organization in Des Plains, Illinois.

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