New police building $3.5 million over budget

The design of a new police headquarters, paid for by a voter-approved $412 million bond measure in June, is already $3.5 million over budget, according to a new report.

Much of the increase is due to last minute changes by police Chief George Gascón, who “requested enhancements to the Public Safety Building’s security, which resulted in additional design and engineering services,” according to the Budget Analyst report.

The cost overrun also includes $1.2 million in contingency costs.

Costs for the $243 million building had already been tabulated by the Department of Public Works on July 22, 2009, a month before Gascón took over the Department.

But a number of concerns by Gascón meant DPW had to hire an outside consultant to respond to a number of requests that include, “(a) strengthening the building structure to protect against structural collapse from a bomb detonation, (b) enhancing the building façade to prevent bullets or other projectiles from entering the building, and (c) shielding the mechanical air system from harmful airborne agents.”

Some of the changes also include added basement-level parking, widened sidewalks, “anti-ram” curbs and enhanced “visual screening.” Gascón was also able to change the early plans to “reflect police department reorganization,” undertaken since he became chief.

The cost increases need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, which meets at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Police spokeswoman Lt. Lyn Tomioka said Tuesday that Gascón was not immediately available for comment.

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