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Algonquin puts plans for police gun range on hold

ALGONQUIN – A planned gun range for the police department is on hold, as Algonquin officials expect to reject bids for the project, which came in over budget.

The village's early estimate for a police gun range just north of the Public Works facility was $170,000. The engineers' estimate for the project rose to $340,000 and then later to $753,000, according to a village memo written by Public Works Director Robert Mitchard.

The village initially budgeted $320,000 for the project, Mitchard said.

Mitchard said the project is challenging to develop because of many unknowns and the rarity of constructing such a structure to discerning standards.

"We have never built a gun range before," Mitchard said. "We took a wild stab at it early."

When the two bids received were opened, the prices were more expensive. One bid was for about $865,500; a second bidder proposed doing the work for $1.47 million.

"This is pretty specialized contractor's work, so it was not surprising, yet disappointing, that only two bidders chose to submit," Mitchard wrote. "Once the bids were opened, it was apparent that the work confused the contractors' estimators and drove prices higher than anticipated."

Because of the price variation, the village is looking to delay the project indefinitely.

"Due to the wide variation in bidders' numbers and our estimates, it causes me great concern that we would be able to complete this work on time and within, not even budgets, but within the contract prices submitted," Mitchard wrote.

Currently the Algonquin Police Department does firearm training in Barrington.

Algonquin hoped to have other area police departments come in and use its facility as well.

The firing range was planned to be a byproduct of the Algonquin Western Bypass, which is nearing completion. The village looked to take a steep grade and make it useful.

The Village Board is scheduled next week to vote to formally reject bids for the firing range project.

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