Showers building purchase update: Bloomington RDC OKs $68K in due diligence contracts

The city of Bloomington’s hoped-for purchase of the western portion of the Showers building, where city hall is located, took an incremental step forward on Monday.

In connection with due diligence work in advance of the $9.25-million purchase from CFC Properties,  Bloomington’s RDC has approved three contracts totaling $67,800. The unanimous approvals came at the RDC’s regular meeting on Monday.

Approved at Monday’s meeting were: a contract with BCA Environmental for environmental analysis ($2,800); a contract with Tabor/Bruce Architecture & Design for investigation of the building’s mechanical systems ($15,000); and a contract with Springpoint Architects for a public safety evaluation ($50,000).

BCA Environmental is supposed to identify “readily observable and historical environmental conditions” that might be a liability now or create concerns for construction activities. BCA will review the history of the site including public environmental records and survey the site visually.

Tabor/Bruce Architecture & Design is supposed to look at walls, doors, windows and mechanical systems, including HVAC, solar, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as the outside of the building.

The work by Springpoint Architects is supposed to include a spatial needs analysis of the building to determine its suitability for a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) certified police headquarters. Bloomington police department (BPD) is currently CALEA certified.

Springpoint’s work is supposed to include an analysis of the building’s capacity for: reception; conference room; offices; cells for detainees; interview rooms; record storage; evidence storage; communications center; restrooms; lockers and storeroom for storing equipment; kitchenette; supply storage; and IT space—computer mechanicals, copier/printer.

Responding to an emailed question from The B Square, Bloomington police chief Mike Diekhoff wrote that the current BPD headquarters on 3rd Street has interview rooms that can be used for “very short detention times,” but that the facility does not have “cells.”

In the city’s mid-July news release and in subsequent statements from officials about the planned use of the space, the potential relocation of police and fire department headquarters has been a highlight.

The fire department’s use of the additional space in the Showers building is not a part of the due diligence work approved on Monday, because it is only administrative offices that would be moved to the Showers building. Fire chief Jason Moore responded to an emailed B Square question by writing, “We do not require any specialized assessment since the fire department’s needs are administrative office space.”

The work that Spring Point Architects will be doing includes serving as a liaison to one of the few firms nationwide that are certified to do design work for police facilities, according to assistant city attorney Larry Allen.

Allen told RDC members that under the current purchase agreement with CFA properties, the city of Bloomington has until Sept. 16 to complete its due diligence.