MOULTRIE -- The Moultrie City Council approved three change orders for the new police station Tuesday. The total funding approved to make these change orders was $13,682.14 and the move brings the total change orders to the police station to nine.

The first of these change orders was to meet requirements of the Georgia Department of Transportation. The additional $5,115.39 will be used for more concrete for the drive on the First Avenue Southwest side. The drive will be an entrance and exit for the state route.

The money will also make improvements to the handicap access ramps on the corner of First Avenue and First Street Southwest.

The second of the change orders was to convert the building originally designed as a storage facility into a fitness center. The $3,933.35 will be used for additional electrical, HVAC and gypsum ceiling as well as painting the block walls.

The building was planned as a storage facility under former Police Chief Mike Boyd. Current Chief Frank Lang, however, wanted the building to have a different use, which would allow officers to be in better physical shape and ease potential costs of membership fees at a gym or Moultrie YMCA.

The funding approved by the council for the renovations does not include the costs for equipment in the fitness center. The police department plans to purchase the equipment through grants or donations.

The final change order was to purchase and install new lettering to the building's front facade. The $4,633.40 approved by the council will be used to purchase new plastic lettering with a lifetime warranty.

The funding will also be used to remove the existing lettering, which requires reworking of the facade in order to blend colors and make repairs to remove the current lettering.

City Manager Bob Hopkins said the lettering currently on the police department building did not fit what some members of the city council wanted to portray with the new building. The style of new lettering approved will give the sign and building more of an "upscale" appearance.

In spite of the changes being approved at the council meeting, Project Manager Ella Fast said the building is still on budget. There was a contingency plan in the budget for making change orders such as the three approved, she said.

The target date for completion of the building is in the first or second week of September, Fast said. The tentative schedule is for officers to begin moving in on Sept. 18, hold a building dedication Sept. 19 and start police operations on Sept. 20.

Other matters brought before the council Tuesday and approved included:

Conducting a public hearing for an application of an Employment Incentive Grant of up to $500,000 for Sanderson Farms infrastructure improvements;

Renewal of contracts with Alltel for phone service at the Service Center, Fire Station Number 3 and the Utilities Department;

Bids to make roof repairs at the Municipal Annex Building, digital converter set-top boxes and 118,000 feet of coaxial drop cable;

A four-year lease agreement with the Georgia Municipal Association for a garbage truck;

A change order to complete truncated domes for the Moultrie Rails to Trails Phase III project; and

A memorandum of understanding for utility service between the City of Moultrie and Lowe's Home Centers.

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