Crews are making steady progress as the end of construction comes into sight for the city's new Public Safety building at the corner of East Magnolia Avenue and North Ross Street.
Barring common weather-related delays, construction is expected to wrap up in early November, said Public Safety Director Bill James.
Once completed, the new building will house the Auburn Police Division, Auburn Fire Division, the Judicial Department, the 911 Center, Public Safety administration, City Council Chambers and Municipal Court as well as Fire Station No. 1.
"Everybody’s just excited. It’s like waiting on Christmas," said James. "We think the citizens are going to be really happy with the functionality of the building, and the staff is going to have a new space to work out of. It will be something to be proud of, not only for the citizens but for the city of Auburn, and especially the staff that is going to work out of the building."
The new facility will contain separate spaces for the Municipal Court and City Council Chambers. Currently, both operate out of the same space in the Judicial Building, which will be razed after staff moves into the new building, a process that is expected to take about a month.
The new building will also provide the city with space to expand as Auburn grows.
"Years down the road as the city continues to grow, if there’s a need to have a City Council Chambers in a City Hall somewhere or there’s need to expand court, then the City Council Chambers could be used as a courtroom in the future if the City Council would move to a new location," said James.
The new Fire Station No. 1 includes a few more bays, which will give the city the opportunity for a second ladder truck if needed in the future, said James, who added that it also has training rooms, a better alarm system and living quarters.
"Right now, it’s a large dorm living quarters where everybody is just in one large room," he said. "This one has bedrooms, but it’s two bunks to a bedroom, so you have a little more privacy. It’s an alerting system to when an alarm goes off it will turn on lights. It’ll put on displays where the call’s coming to."
The project is staying close to its $29 million budget, said James. The total budgeted cost, including architectural fees and furniture costs, is about $33 million.
"We are hanging pretty close to the $29 million that was the original budget," he said. "Obviously, something like this, a big project, there’s been some change orders that have been made. But we’re still keeping pretty close to that.
"We’re 75 percent complete on the building now, so we don’t expect anything major to come up. We’re hanging sheet rock now, and once that’s done you’re talking about finishes and trim and the carpet and all that."
Phase 2 of the project will include razing the Judicial Building, doing utility work and paving a parking lot on the razed site and remodeling the current Public Safety administration building to make it ADA compliant.