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Fire Station renovation project to go out to bid

Date: 1/16/2012

Jan. 16, 2012

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — The committee charged with pursuing the renovation of the main fire station on Boston Road plans to send the project out to bid in the near future.

Building Inspector Lance Trevallion told the Board of Selectmen of the committee’s desire to move forward at a Jan. 9 meeting at which Jeffrey McElreavy of Tecton Architecture presented a final design and projected budget.

“We’d like to be able to put this out to bid in the next week or two,” Trevallion said. “We just wanted to run this by you and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Fire Chief Francis Nothe added that the timing for going out to bid is favorable right now.

“We feel this is the best time of year to go out to bid because many of the contractors are setting up their work schedules for the construction season [in] 2012, so we’d like to go out to bid, get some bids in and see where we stand as opposed to waiting and appropriating more money, then going out to bid,” he said. “[McElreavy] sees a slight up-tick in different areas. Construction is starting to pick up and if we wait, it could cost more.”

The committee’s approved budget for the renovation was $2.4 million, with a hard construction budget of $2.15 million. The base-bid estimate is just below that figure at $2.145 million.

McElreavy explained that the new facility would take up 11,500 square feet, keeping the existing 3,600 square-foot building and expanding to the north, west and south.

“There are several [current] additions we are removing, such as the small office addition to the rear. We’re getting rid of the trailers being used as dormitory facilities and also the apparatus bay that houses the ambulance off to the side, which is way too small and not deep enough to satisfy vehicle needs,” he said.

The largest addition area-wise is two new apparatus bays, which will replace the ambulance bays to the north.

“That addition goes between the existing building and the fueling station, [which] will remain,” McElreavy said. “That has the new depth to accommodate ladder trucks and engines.”

New ambulance bays will be added to the rear of the building.

While the original estimate for the project was above the approved amount, the committee was able to prioritize items to bring the cost under budget, according to McElreavy.

“We did do a final estimate on the project and we were a little high on the estimate, so we went through a value engineering process to make sure we were at the right number for bid day,” he said. “That was a two-part process. The first part was to go through and make sure anything we didn’t absolutely need in the project wasn’t in there and we did save $175,000 by cutting out things that were either misinterpreted by the estimator or things we decided we could live without. Then we also packaged a group of alternates on the project and if the bidding process serves us well, maybe we can get a few of these right away within our project budget.”

Among the alternates, which must be completed in the prioritized order listed, are a “fit-out” of the living quarters, which is estimated to cost $143,400.

“We will build that as rough space initially and if the funding comes in right, we’ll be able to build that out,” McElreavy said.

Construction of the technology infrastructure was the second alternate, estimated at $30,000, followed by an HVAC system upgrade anticipated to cost $56,400.

New glass and aluminum overhead doors valued at $24,366, new cabinets worth $8,561, outdoor canopies estimated at $48,000 and a heat-radiant floor in the apparatus bay with a cost of $15,196 rounded out the list of alternates.

Trevallion said the committee has explored the possibility of additional monetary sources for the project, including an ambulance fund.

“We discussed with [Treasurer Thomas Sullivan] and [Town Administrator Robert] Weitz the other day some potential additional funding sources, all of which would require going back to town meeting in May,” he said. “With any additional funding we could secure at town meeting, we could then start going through and picking up some of these alternates.”

Sullivan said before any conversations regarding additional funding are had, the town should wait for bids to come in.

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