Press-Republican

October 4, 2012

Keene Fire Station construction begins

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — KEENE — Footings for the new Keene Fire Station will be poured on Friday. 

The building won’t have a cellar foundation, but it will sit on higher ground.

Progress at the site is proceeding nicely and on schedule for completion in about seven months.

STATE BOOST

The Keene Fire Commission formally accepted state funding offered in late August by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor announced then that $640,000 was available to help finish off the Fire Station, as Federal Emergency Management Agency recovery assistance was cut.

The funding also allows for completion of the administrative section beside the truck garage.

Keene’s station on Hurricane Road was torn in half during floods from Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28 last year.

Fire commissioners forged ahead, making provisions to relocate and rebuild. They found property across from Stewart’s Shop in the hamlet center.

Referendum approval from voters last year allowed for a $2.3 million project and bonding up to $500,000.

ANOTHER VOTE

With state assistance and other grant monies in hand, the Fire Department is now looking to do all of the finish work in this round of construction.

Keene fire commissioners need Fire District voter approval to add $700,000 to the project cost.

They will bring the proposal to referendum vote in mid November.

Keene Fire Chief Jody Whitney said the second referendum seeks approval to utilize additional grant funding.

“When we put this project out to bid, we did it with the full project design option and a shell for the administrative area,” Whitney said.

“We awarded (contracts) for the full (garage) bays with the administrative shell option, which keeps us just under the $2.3 million.

“The other $700,000 in grant funding will finish the administrative space for a training center, offices, management and fundraising base for Fire Department and ambulance personnel.”

NEW RULES

Fire commissioners hope to complete the administrative portion in this construction cycle, ahead of prevailing-wage increases due in January.

“Prevailing-wage costs are factored into the project,” Whitney said.

“The prevailing-wage requirement is law for municipalities in New York state. Come January 1, construction wages will increase by 4 percent. We are seeking approval to spend an additional $700,000 on the project, but (not with) money to be raised from the Keene tax base. It comes from state grants.”

WORK UNDER WAY

Things are moving nicely at the construction site now, the fire chief said.

The general contractor is Murnane Building Contractors of Plattsburgh.

 Work crews have started digging. 

“They’ve already excavated the site to the proper landscaping grade,” Whitney said.

“They should be ready to pour the footers on Friday.”

Work can continue on the approved referendum from last November.

“We had to get started. The time frame set for use of state monies is 14 months,” Whitney said.

The bids were opened with a deadline to begin by mid-September.

WINTER WORK

The Keene Fire Station will be built to Essential Services construction standards set by the state after Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The structures are designed to sustain both manmade and natural disasters.

“It is a 30-week build from when they began digging on Sept. 17,” Whitney said.

“Work can be done through winter, they just have to account for the winter conditions. Contracts have all been signed; there are five prime contractors for electrician, plumber, HVAC, sprinkler and general.”

Keene’s Fire Commission is looking to hold the second referendum vote in mid-November.

It cannot be held in conjunction with the general election, Whitney said, as it pertains only to the Keene Fire District.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com