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Council to seek bids for station design

Future plans for fire house still up in air

POSTED: November 11, 2012 8:30 a.m.

Plans for changes to the fire station and old city hall building located on Ford Avenue went back to square one Thursday when the Richmond Hill City Council decided to request bids for more architectural designs for the project.
The decision to seek design proposals for the renovation or new construction of the fire station came after some discussion about what direction the city thought would best suit the future of the fire department.
Some ideas the council is considering include building a new facility or remodeling the existing station and old city hall building. The council also weighed the option of waiting a year and saving some special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) dollars for the project.
Fire Chief Vernon Rushing told the council he felt delaying the project would wind up costing the city more money and suggested getting designs together for the project as soon as possible.
“If you look at the current status of the economy, I feel like that delaying one year will actually cost us more,” he said. “Cost of construction is going to go up, and we want to try to go ahead and get started with a building that’s going to probably come in around $100-$115 a square foot. Or do we want to wait a year and build a building that’s going to cost us $145 dollars a square foot?”
Terry Coleman with Savannah-based Kern-Coleman and Co., an architectural, engineering, surveying and landscaping firm, was also at the meeting. His firm has been working preliminary sketches for the project.
While he could not give definite numbers of how much the project would cost, he said he would work with the city to keep it within their budget.
“Our job would be to work with a budget that council establishes and design the project within that budget,” Coleman said. “If the city’s got a $1.8 million budget, then we’ll have to figure out how to make it work with $1.8 million.”
The council also questioned how long it would take to get a design together and estimates from contractors. Rushing said he believed it could take a year to get plans designed, bids for the project and more before dirt could start moving.

Read more in the Nov. 10 edition of the News.

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