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Council moves forward on new fire hall

Xavier Smith • Updated Jan 13, 2017 at 9:00 AM

The Lebanon City Council appears to be headed toward the next step in bringing a new fire hall to the city after Thursday’s pre-meeting work session. 

The group discussed the award bid for the Fire Hall #4, to be located on E. Division Street, and showed no objections to the change order and bid. Randy Laine, Lebanon engineering director for capital projects, discussed the bid. 

The group agreed to accept the donation last year from Henry and Hank McCall for land at State Route 109 and E. Division Street in front of Wilson Bank & Trust. The group had previously agreed and accepted bids to build the future fire station on Eastgate Boulevard behind Wendy’s.

“In that time frame, the other location became available, which was a more desirable location. We said with that approval, that we would negotiate the change order for moving the site. That change order is back and before you now and comes out to about $330,000,” Laine said. 

Laine said about $185,000 of the change order is dedicated to site improvements. 

“The numbers are reasonable if you want to proceed with that location,” Laine said. 

“I’m afraid if you bid it again, there’s no telling what it’s going to be,” Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Dowell said. 

Laine recommended awarding the bid of Steed Brothers for about $1.7 million. Other bids included Phoenix Commercial Builders with $1.8 million and Hilbers, Inc. and Baron Construction with bids of about $2 million. 

Dowell said the location would bring a much-needed station to the western end of the city and the ability to control the traffic light at the intersection to have easy access onto State Route 109.

The award bid, which the council will make a formal decision on Tuesday, is the latest step in the city’s ongoing effort to bring a fire station to the city’s western end.

The council, city officials and Dowell decided to alter the fire hall design in 2015 after the original round of bids featured estimated costs of $2.4 million and $2.5 million, around $1 million more expensive than the earliest estimated costs.

Dowell made several changes to the previous bid fire hall design that altered the fire hall to an 8,500-square-foot, two-bay station from the 11,000-square-foot, three-bay hall that was originally bid.

The council also discussed potentially placing the fire hall on Leeville Pike in the Stonebridge community. However, Wayne Oakley, project architect, said the thought of sinkholes on the site concerned him.

“I’m hearing sinkholes, that scares me. I’m thinking we’re dropping not one soil classification, but we’re dropping possibly two soil classifications,” Oakley said last year. “You can easily escalate the price of the project on that alone.”

The council also discussed the issues with the Eastgate site last year, which included traffic. The main issue surrounded fire trucks being potentially locked into the station due to traffic on Eastgate Boulevard.

In April 2014, the city began planning for a new fire station by allocating $1.49 million in the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget.

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