• December 19, 2014

Cove fire station proposals may save city money

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Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:54 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

COPPERAS COVE — Switching the process of constructing a new Fire Station No. 2 could add about four weeks for the city to receive contracting bids. However, it could also save the city money and add more amenities to the proposed facility.

Bidding the relocation construction of the fire station should take the city about four weeks, said City Manager Andrea Gardner.

“I am working with the engineers and architects to get the bid out on the streets, as it were,” she said.

A week is needed to create the construction-bid-package proposal, two weeks to solicit for contractors and another week to receive the bids, Gardner said. Depending on how close that day is to a City Council meeting will determine how fast the bids are opened and approved by the governing body.

“It won’t delay it that much,” she said.

Residents approved a $4.7 million bond for the relocation of the fire station in November 2012. The facility is currently located outside of City Park on Avenue B, but it is proposed to move to Grimes Crossing at Avenue B.

The new plan also will triple the station’s size and construct two larger bays for equipment as well as better living and working facilities.

The loan amount, however, also includes the purchasing of at least one fire-engine-ladder truck and a brush truck at about $1.4 million. The city accepted the bond monies and its interest rate earlier this year.

There is about $2.9 million left for the facility, Gardner said. The trucks are expected to be purchased in early May.

On Tuesday, the city had received proposals from 11 project managers to be in charge of the construction, but decided to forgo hiring the manager for a general contractor.

The city engineer and the building’s architect agreed that projects of this nature and size generally save money by seeking competitive bids from general contractors, Gardner said.

The manager rates would have set a price for the construction along with a start date, completion date and a particular set of plans.

Another advantage of using the competitive bidding process includes adding a proposed third bay to the facility, which can be approved or denied by the council.

Prior to receiving the proposals from project managers, Gardner said she believed the project would come in under its estimated cost and the city could add the facility. However, the city is required to have exact plans for the project manager to follow.

“If we can get that extra bay, that is great,” Gardner said about the bid process. “If we don’t, then hopefully we will save the city some money.”

Gardner said since the city received so many project manager proposals, she is hopeful to see as much interest in construction bids.

The 11 proposals also would have needed to be ranked by city staff and selected by the council before negotiations could have started on price and a construction time frame.

By nixing all the proposals the city didn’t have to waste time scoring the project managers, Gardner said.

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