City considering fire station upgrade contract

City Commissioners will consider awarding a $2.73 million contract to James Talcott Construction for fire station improvements during their April 18 meeting.

The project is being funded with American Rescue Plan Act, federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The fire station infrastructure project includes upgrades to the HVAC and electrical systems and renovations to the dorm areas in all four of the city’s existing fire stations.

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The project went out for bid in February and the city received three bids ranging from $2,731,200 to $3,754,000 with Talcott submitting the lowest bid.

The city hired Cushing Terrell with a $248,000 design contract for the project in December 2022 and staff from both entities reviewed the proposals, according to the city.

The fire station infrastructure project was identified as a top priority project for the city’s ARPA funds during an April 2022 meeting. The project budget was set at $2.8 million in December 2022.

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“This work will entail intense schedule coordination to complete work at all four fire stations, while maintaining fire service throughout construction. Because phasing will be necessary, it is imperative to start this work soon in order to complete within the ARPA timeframes,” according to city staff.

The upgrades are needed to support social distancing protocols and update aging infrastructure, according to GFFR.

During a November work session, staff told commissioners they expect they can complete the project at all four stations within a year from contract award.

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GFFR Chief Jeremy Jones, said during the November meeting that, “our systems are failing.”

Jones told commissioners they don’t have heat in some areas of the stations.

“This is not a nicety, this is a matter of if you want to keep your four current fire stations” operational before we decide on anything else in the future, Jones said during the November meeting. “We’re having failures everywhere.”

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Sylvia Tarman, the city’s ARPA project manager, said staff has been clear with the design professionals that the ARPA funds come with timelines.

She told commissioners that they’ve been seeing long lead times with HVAC equipment and it’s a concern staff has been voicing.