Village president doesn’t want community to blame fire department for expenses not related to building
As plans for the expansion and renovation of the Fredonia fire station are refined, the anticipated cost keeps rising.
That was the crux of the message delivered to the Village Board last week by Gary Gartman of Quasius Construction, the Sheboygan firm that is designing the fire station.
Gartman said a number of upgrades have pushed the projected cost of the expansion to $2.3 million — roughly a $400,000 increase.
Curiously, Quasius won the contract after saying they would design the project for well under the $2.5 million price suggested by a different firm.
“It has gone up,” he said, pointing specifically to proposed bathroom changes that would include shower facilities and the addition of a more powerful gas-powered electrical generator.
The recommended 225 kilovolt generator, which is needed to meet upgraded electrical service in the building, would cost $79,000. The existing generator is rated at only 30 kilovolts.
Village President Don Dohrwardt said the upgraded generator may be more than is justified as a backup system when power goes out, even if the fire station is designated as an emergency shelter should a natural disaster occur in the community.
“I would like to keep our people comfortable, but we don’t need to have all of the lights on and throw a party,” Dohrwardt said, suggesting a less-power generator may be all that is needed.
“It is not so much that the current generator is undersized as it is the wrong voltage,” Gartman said.
Dohrwardt also asked that any expenses related to the reconstruction of Park Street not be included in the building cost.
“That is really a public works project, and that is where the funds should come from,” he said.
“The fire station project should only include fire station costs. In the future, I don’t want people blaming the fire department for a $2.3 million project when they are really responsible for only about $2 million of that expense.”
In an attempt to hold the project cost down, Dohrwardt asked that furniture planned for the building also be removed from the bid document.
He said it made little sense to be paying for furniture over 20 years, something the village is likely to be doing for the building addition.
Dohrwardt also asked Fire Chief Brian Weyker to go over the proposed bid document to look for areas to cut, quickly adding, “But I don’t want you to cut your own throat.”
Gartman said some numbers are likely to go down, despite the estimates.
“These numbers are fairly conservative. When we go to bid, they will probably come in a little bit better,” he said.
Because the road reconstruction design has already been completed, officials agreed it should be treated as an alternate in the building bid.
“The last piece of the puzzle will be the mechanical specifications, which should take about three weeks to finalize,” Gartman said.
If things go according to schedule, the project could be ready for bidding in early May.