City poised to award contract for second fire station

Published 1:23 am Monday, January 8, 2007

By Staff
Bids come in higher than project’s budget; efforts under way to reduce costs
By MIKE VOSS, Contributing Editor
Washington’s City Council likely will award a contract not to exceed $2.4 million to Greenville-based Hudson Brothers Construction Co. to build a second fire station in the city.
The move is expected to come during the council’s meeting today. That meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
Bids received for the project came in higher than expected.
Stewart Cooper Newell Architects, the firm that designed the new fire station for the city, said it will prepare the contract for review and execution. Bid documents required contractors’ bids be valid until Feb. 19.
In September, the council accepted conditions that are part of two loans the city will use to build and equip the new station. The loans total $2,867,000, which includes $250,000 for the 2.24 acre site on 15th Street Extension and about $97,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Other contractors submitting bids for the project were WIMCO Corp. of Washington, AR Chesson Construction of Williamston, Virtexco Corp. of New Bern, Daniels &Daniels Construction of Goldsboro and Pro Construction of Jacksonville.
Hudson Brothers’ base bid was $2,181,700. Its bid total on 13 project options — items such as an automatic sprinkler system, generator, third vehicle bay and appliances — came to $361,097 for a total bid package of $2,542,797. The difference between that amount and the contract not to exceed $2,444,400 reflects a choice to not award contracts for each of the project options.
Hudson Brothers was low bidder on the construction project and optional projects.
In early 2006, the city was approved to receive a $1.53 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development branch to pay for the second station. That commitment was made before soil-related problems with the original site for the station surfaced. Those problems forced the city to abandon the site donated for the second station and seek land elsewhere on which to build the second station. The city bought land along 15th Street Extension for the second station.
With the soil problems delaying the project for several months, construction-material costs — steel and concrete in particular — have increased, Philip Fieler, spokesman for Stewart Cooper Newell, told the council this spring.
In May, the council decided to seek a subsequent loan of $1.337 million from USDA’s Rural Development branch to cover increased costs associated with the second station. City officials understand that building, equipping and staffing the second station will cause an increase in the city’s property-tax rate within the next two fiscal years.