SMITHFIELD – Plans for the new Smithfield Fire Station at 321 George Washington Highway have been put on hold again after bids for construction came in too high, according to Fire Chief Robert Seltzer.
Seltzer’s request to rescind requests for proposals for construction of the new station was approved at a March 7 Town Council meeting.
Speaking to the council, Seltzer said the bids came in “extremely high and out of range” for what the department has planned to build. Seltzer said the Fire Station Building Committee is reviewing options for other plans.
He said they’re reviewing the project to come up with other cost savings.
Only two construction companies responded to the request for proposals, said Seltzer, both more than double the original budget. Ahlborg Construction Company bid on the work at $10,123,000 and Tower Construction Corporation bid $8,727,000.
“Both bid proposals are high even when taking into consideration economic inflation related to the COVID pandemic,” Seltzer said in a memo.
He said the FSBC is working with architects to review the bids received. From the review, Seltzer said, revisions will be made and implemented to create cost reductions. They will then present a new bid package for the council’s consideration.
Voters approved a $4.5 million bond for the new station in 2018, a project meant to help combat delayed response times in the northern area of town.
The town purchased the 2.69-acre property at 321 George Washington Highway in December 2021 for $285,000, though other lots were also considered.
Choosing a location and purchase caused some delays on the project, as did drafting plans for the building. Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management permits caused further delays.
The SFD has planned on building a two-story building with a traditional red brick fire station look with modern amenities and features.
It features 27 parking spaces, four fewer than the 31 spaces required by town ordinance.
The building will feature the new administrative office in the front half of the building with some public space, as well as more similar space on the second floor. The rear of the building will be dedicated as a private area for firefighters.
In loosely related news, the state announced grants to Smithfield as one of several Rhode Island fire departments looking to reduce response times and improve safety. The town will receive $3.6 million to hire 12 new firefighters to help achieve full-staffing levels while reducing response times and increasing response efficiency.
Seltzer said he is grateful to have a federal delegation that understands the importance of supporting firefighters and values their service to the people of Smithfield.
Well I guess you could drop the public space, scale down the administrative offices, and that way you won't need a second story??
Oh yeah, next time the town shouldn't wait almost three years to put a plan together... I mean after years of debating whether the town needed a station on the other side of town (which they've needed for the last 15 years!!) it shouldn't have taken another 3 years to bring it to reality!!
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