Taking a deliberate approach and considering several scenarios helped the Liberty Twp. trustees save more than $3 million on a new fire station, officials said.
A new facility on Princeton Road, which will replace the tiny Yankee Road station, and improvements to two existing stations are estimated to cost $6 million — about $5.4 million for the new station and the rest for renovations. The bids are due on Tuesday.
“Good things take time,” Trustee Tom Farrell said of the nearly two-year process to build new Station 112.
The more centrally located fire station on Princeton Road at Cincinnati Dayton Road is expected to improve response times and cut costs by as much as $4 million, Farrell said. The original long-range plan called for a fourth fire station, and the trustees bought a piece of land for $384,000 on Cincinnati Dayton Road north of Millikin Road for that purpose.
Trustees have estimated they saved $2 million to $3 million in construction and operation costs by building a single replacement station. Farrell said personnel will likely be the largest savings because the township can staff one station more efficiently than two.
“We have options that wouldn’t be available with the two stations that we have with one,” Farrell said. “So we believe that we’ll see savings out of this above and beyond the construction for decades.”
Another estimated $1 million savings will be realized with the decision not to move headquarters to the new building. Trustee Board President Steve Schramm said the new building’s footprint would have needed to expand to accommodate headquarters, but space is available in existing facilities.
“It was literally just a matter of space,” Schramm said. “We were going to have to add 1,000 to 2,000 square feet to that facility to move all those people there and when we really got to looking at the square-footage available in those stations, I kind of said why don’t we stay.”
An early estimate for the construction cost for Station 112 was $6.6 million. The trustees balked at the price and began touring other facilities for ideas. A hybrid structure of metal and brick was considered but discarded, according to Farrell. Leakage with a hybrid building was a big factor.
The township will sell bonds to pay for the projects and those loans will be repaid with fire levy and general fund dollars. Trustee Christine Matacic said even with the bidding process — they split the new construction from the renovations — they have tried to maximize their resources.
“It’s like anything else, we want to take our time, we want to make sure we’re doing it right and we want to make sure that funding is available at the appropriate time and we have the resources to pay those loans back,” she said. “I think that’s all a part of how we have managed the taxpayers dollars.”
When the township first announced the site location that cost $550,000 to purchase, neighbors voiced concerns about noise and other issues associated with a fire station. Schramm said emergency vehicles rarely leave the station with sirens blaring, the fire station will take up about one-third of the five-acre property and buffers, such as trees, are planned to mitigate the noise.
He said they haven’t heard a peep form neighbors since. It will take about a year to build the station.
Schramm said he knows at least five or six companies plan to submit bids on the project, and he is hoping for eight to 10.
“It’s kind of a good time, there’s been a lull over the last three or four months in the construction arena,” Schramm said. “A lot of people are slowing down so I think we might have hit a sweet spot here for some aggressive folks on the bid calendar.”
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