After a few years of silence on the project, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is again moving forward on plans to build a shooting range in Sennett.
The Office of General Services put out an advertisement for bids in The Citizen this week for an "enclosed firing range" at the Auburn Correctional Training Center at 3579 Franklin St. Road. General services is receiving sealed bids on behalf of DOCCS until 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 20 when the bids will be opened. Ahead of the bid due date, prospective bidders can visit the job site at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, if they register 72 hours in advance.
Talk about the firing range went quiet for a few years, as Sennett residents and government officials criticized the plan and voiced concerns at a December 2015 public information session. At the time, DOCCS proposed a roughly 3-acre outdoor gun range for training purposes at the state-owned facility. The project's estimated cost was $4.7 million.
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The town had concerns about the range's proximity to a neighborhood, local businesses and now a town park across the road. Noise was another concern. As a result of the 2015 meeting, state officials decided to proceed with developing plans for a smaller, indoor facility.
State officials are revising controversial plans to construct a shooting range at the Auburn…
"We haven't heard from DOCCS at all, or OGS, at all ... in over two years," Sennett Town Supervisor Peter Adams said Friday. He also had yet to see the advertisement for bids as of Friday morning.
Adams last heard of the project at the end of December when he was told in phone conversations with Assemblyman Bob Oaks, R-Macedon, and State Sen. John DeFrancisco that they each expected the state to go forward with an enclosed facility, possibly starting in the spring. Adams said the likely next steps for the town would be discussing the matter at the next town meeting and seeing what the board wants to do.
"The hardest part for our residents is we don't get any information about it," Adams said.
"It's definitely happening," said Kevin Schlieper of the Office of General Services, adding that the project had 20 bid documents purchased online from by noon Friday. "It's the state's property."
The new firing range will be an entirely-enclosed building made of concrete, according to Schlieper, who is an OGS construction supervisor. The range will include eight 100-yard-long lanes as well as a classroom space for training and a mechanical room. He said he doubts anyone would hear anything from the facility, but there are also plans to plant 100 to 200 pine trees to help mitigate potential sound.
Officers at ACF currently conduct training at either another agency's shooting range or a private shooting range, Schlieper said, which means they have to navigate scheduling with other agencies that use the same space. As far as he knows, the range is only intended for ACF officers at this time.
DOCCS could not be reached for comment immediately Friday.
The state's estimates for the cost of the project range from $7.1 to $9.25 million according to bid information provided by OGS online. Hundreds of firms responded to a call for subcontractors and suppliers by noon Friday as well. The project is seeking bids for four different components: construction, HVAC, plumbing and electrical work. At least one or two Auburn companies had bid on each of the four categories as of Friday. Others came from areas like Rochester, Albany or Watertown.
Schlieper said the shooting range will sit behind all the other buildings on the Franklin St. Road property, and run east to west length-wise. An outdoor shooting range is much cheaper to make, he said, so the increase in cost is largely due to constructing the concrete building. In the long run, if it satisfies the town, he said it's worth it.
Construction may start as soon as May 1, Schlieper said. Since the building will be made of pre-fabricated concrete, he said it will go up fast but the entire project will likely take about one to two years to complete. Schlieper was unsure about whether or not there would be any communication with the town of Sennett, but if there were, he said it'd be up to DOCCS as OGS is essentially the project management component of the shooting range.