The Clayton Building Committee is going back to the drawing board with the town's possible police station expansion. The committee met Aug. 27 to discuss the project and left with more questions than answers.

Committee members were presented with a possible blueprint from engineer Ed Ide, of i3a Engineering & Construction Management, and two proposals from local companies. The average of the two proposals was $60,000, more than the original expected price of $50,000. The project cost increased due to the inclusion of a bathroom.

Committee Chair Alex Dias explained at the beginning of the meeting the reason the expansion is needed.

"We need a more secure building, one where prisoners aren't coming in town hall to be interviewed or to use the bathroom," Dias said. "They need to be separate from town hall so it's more secure for the town and our employees."

The blueprints show the expansion would include a storage room, interview room, front entrance and more. A file room would be opened up to free up desk space for an officer.

Committee member Skip Carrow brought forward several questions and concerns with the project. Carrow asked if the bench used for detaining suspects was adequate for the department and whether or not the glass entrance door would be bulletproof.

Police Chief Brian Hill said the bench was adequate for what the department does. He didn't know if bulletproof glass would be used for the front door.

"Do you believe as police chief we need something like that?" Carrow asked. "I know we need to be fiscal money-wise but if we're doing this for safety issues I want to make sure it's done right."

Carrow also asked about other costs including soft costs for furniture and of a possible renovation to town hall. The blueprints included suggestions for renovating the front office so there's more work space and less space in the lobby; however, the committee hadn't planned on doing renovations to the front office yet..

In regards to the soft costs, Hill said he could use grants for audio needed for the interviewing room and he could probably use funds from his regular budget to get furniture.

Dias asked why town employees need a bigger workspace.

"There's not enough room for everything they have," said committee member Mary Ellen DeBenedictis.

Town Foreman Jeff Hurlock said the desks in the front office are falling apart.

Carrow asked whether it'd be smarter to combine the police station expansion and town hall renovation into one project; Hurlock later agreed with the suggestion.

"I almost think we should do it as one package," Hurlock said. "I don't think it'd cost that much more."

As the committee continued to ask questions about the project, Carrow suggested a second meeting be scheduled but this time said to include Ide. There were also discussions of rebidding the project.

"We need to slow down. If we're going to do it, we need to do it right," Carrow said. "I think we do need to do something. I support this 100 percent, but we need to make sure we do it right and think everything through so we're not coming back and asking for more money."

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