City awards $217K contract to finish repairs at Fox Farm fire station
City Commissioners approved a $217,345 contract to WVH Enterprises to reconstruct the areas of the station affected by the sewer line replacement and meeting ADA requirements.
The station has been closed since January for repairs and as the project started, additional issues were discovered.
City Manager Greg Doyon said during the Oct. 6 commission meeting that the project has driven city officials “all a little bonkers.”
Jeremy Jones, interim chief at Great Falls Fire Rescue, said the contractor has some concerns about materials due to various COVID induced shortages. Jones said that February or Mach is a realistic timeframe for when the station will be able to reopen, but they’re hoping for an earlier date.
Jones said that they ran data from the district to determine peak times and typical call volumes. GFFR had a unit at the station operating out of the parking lot during the warmer months with a reserve engine and ambulance while they also operated out of Fire Station 1 downtown.
He said that doesn’t mean crews are at the Fox Farm station 24/7 but they’ve tried to offset the impact of the construction closure.
He said that may be tougher in the winter months, but so far, they hadn’t heard of any issues on call responses.
Three years ago, significant sewer and storm drain maintenance issues were identified at three of the city’s four fire stations and the Fox Farm station was determined to have the greatest repair need for Great Falls Fire Rescue.
The city was able to rectify sewer line issues at Station 1 without digging up the concrete, according to GFFR. At Station 1, crews were able to unclog and flush the sewer lines, replace a bad fitting and then poly line the pipes.
The city is re-examining the sewer line issues at Station 2 near the fairgrounds to see if they can be resolved as they were at the downtown station or if those lines need to be dug up and replaced as well.
Jones said that for now, Station 3 is okay, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored long-term.
The city awarded a $149,750 contract to Copper Creek Construction for plumbing upgrades at three of the city’s fire stations during a December meeting and repair work began Jan. 6. The station was closed at that time for construction.
But as work began, a number of additional issues were discovered, including that lateral lines needed to be replaced in addition to the main sewer lines; when relocating drains in the station kitchen, black mold was found in the sink area along with extensive water damage; a similar situation was found in the station’s bathrooms.
Both areas required mold remediation and large scale remodeling of both to meet current code requirements including the installation of ADA compliant showers, adding cost to the project.
During the Feb. 4 meeting, City Manager Greg Doyon told commissioners that crews were digging out sewer and drain lines and replacing them with modern materials to make sure they drain properly. In some cases, they hadn’t been draining correctly and water was pooling, creating voids under the slabs, he said.
Electrical conduit had also been run through the concrete slabs and hadn’t been detected earlier on, but crews discovered it had deteriorated so running new conduit is also an additional task in the project, Doyon said in February.
Due to the changes and additional issues discovered during the maintenance work, the city chose to rebid the additional items to contain costs, according to GFFR. Bids for this phase of the project were received by the city on Sept. 29.
Station 4 will remain closed until construction is complete and crews from that station are operating out of Station 1 downtown and staging within their district during peak times.
Station 4 typically has the lowest call volume of the city’s stations, but the closure has increased response times in some case, but in other cases, it’s improved times, according to GFFR.
The first phase of the project included replacing all of the remaining lateral sewer lines to restore functionality for under floor sewer drains and demolition of the bathroom/locker room. That phase was completed this summer.
Falls Mechanical and Cushing Terrell were contracted for the design phase of the project.
WVH Enterprises submitted the only bid for the project, according to the city.