City Council commits $101,500 to next step of new fire station design

LACONIA — The City Council this week approved the expenditure of $101,500 to complete the second phase of designing the expansion and renovation of Central Fire Station, which will enable the cost of the project to be estimated in July.
Deputy Chief Charlie Roffo, accompanied by Jonathan Smith of Warrenstreet Architects, Inc. of Concord, presented the first phase of the schematic design to the council on Monday. He explained that on the basis of this work the estimated cost fell between $4,083,831 and $4,449,095 with a margin of error of 8 percent. Smith said that with completion of the second phase of the design work, the margin of error will be reduced to about 2 percent.
City Manager Scott Myers reminded the councilors that he included first year debt service on a $4.1 million borrowing for the fire station in his recommended budget for fiscal year 2015. Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3), chairman of the Finance Committee, suggested delaying the adoption of the new city budget until July, when the estimate will be complete. Myers pointed out that only the cost of borrowing would be included in the budget and the difference in the cost of borrowing  $4.1 million and $4.4 million would be about $7,000, an amount that could be managed easily without postponing a vote on the budget.
Chief Ken Erickson said yesterday that with a firm estimate the project could be presented to the Planning Board and put out to bid in August with the aim of breaking ground for the new addition in October. Roffo said that once the addition is built personnel could move to new quarters and work could begin renovating the existing station without compromising the operations of the department.
The plan includes the renovation of 13,167-square-feet of the existing station to serve as an apparatus bay, training area and storage space and the construction of a two-story, 12,964-square-foot addition to house the administrative offices, emergency operations center and dormitory. The building would be reconfigured to provide public access and parking off Tremont Street, instead of off North Main Street.