Commission approves contract for fire station sewer repairs

Updated Jan. 2

Commissioners voted unanimously during their Dec. 17 meeting to approve a $149,750 contract to Copper Creek Construction for plumbing upgrades at three of the city’s fire stations.

Great Falls Fire Rescue Chief Steve Hester said that work would begin in a few weeks at Station 4 at 1800 Fox Farm Rd.

Hester said the work will require closure of the station as crews demolish the existing flooring, abate asbestos in the flooring and then repair the sewer line and flooring.

The work could take two months, Hester said.

Design for sewer line repairs at city fire stations in process

Crews and engines from Station 4 will operate out of Station 1 downtown during the construction, Hester said.

Crews may stage in their district during peak times to avoid traffic on the Warden Bridge, commonly called the 10th Avenue South bridge, Hester said.

Assistant Chief Jeremy Jones told The Electric that Station 4 is the city’s hazmat station so GFFR will turn the training center on 9th Street South into the hazmat station temporarily.

Fire crews will go back into Station 4 once the utilities are back online and operate out of that station through the remainder of construction, Jones said.

Once work is completed at the Fox Farm station, Hester said work will begin at Station 1 downtown, Jones said.

Jones said it will also be an opportunity to gather data on response times since GFFR’s long term strategic plan include running another crew out of Station 1.

Jones said Station 4 has an ambulance based there and does a lot of medical call. Station 2 has the tower engine. He said during construction, they’ll cross-man with crews and apparatus depending on the type of call, which will help alleviate some of the burden on Station 1.

Then work will move to Station 2 at 731 6th St. N.W., Jones said.

By then, the weather should allow GFFR to leave an engine outside and they’ll put a shower trailer at the station so crews can continue to operate out of that station during construction.

Station 2 got an update to bathrooms, but the rest of the station will be gutted and updated, Jones said.

City evaluating sewer system at fire stations

When work begins at Station 1 downtown, crews will have to work around firefighting operations, Hester said. It’s the busiest station and houses GFFR administration.

Hester said the station is also the largest and will allow firefighters to move equipment around to allow for construction without impeding operations.

The need for the project arose in 2017 when city staff were planning kitchen and restroom remodels at some of the fire stations. During the initial states of those remodels, it was discovered that sewer pipes under the floor drains had deteriorated and failed in several locations.

In December 2018, the commission awarded a contract to Falls Mechanical Services to evaluate the condition of the sewer lines.

Mikaela Schultz in the city engineer’s office told The Electric in March that the company scoped the lines at all four fire stations and provided detailed schematics and cost estimates of what they found.

In March 2019, commissioners awarded a $14,411 professional services contract to Falls Mechanical for the rehabilitation of sewer lines at three of the city’s four fire stations. The contractor and city staff worked on the design of the project this year and prepared construction documents.

The contract approved during the Dec. 17 meeting includes the replacement of sewer drain lines at Fire Stations No. 1, 2 and 4, including new cleanouts, plumbing lines and floor repair, according to the staff report.

This project will repair the sewer drain problems that were found at:

  • Station 1- 105 9th St. S.
  • Station 2- 731 6th St. N.W.
  • Station 4- 1800 Fox Farm Rd

Schultz said in March that the investigation showed that the sewer line at station 3 was in decent shape and the city will address that line when they remodel the kitchen and dorm area of that station.

City continuing discussion to close Natatorium, repair fire stations; additional budget work session set for July 11

Once the the sewer repairs are completed, other restroom and kitchen remodels can begin at the three stations, according to the staff report.

The city received three bids for the project on Dec. 4 with bid prices ranging from $191,159 to $149,750. Copper Creek Construction submitted the low bid, according to staff.

Funding for the project was included in the fire department’s budget.