The Chehalis city council voted to approve a construction bid of about $223,700 for the site preparation to move its temporary structure to its new State Avenue fire station location.
In late October, the city of Chehalis purchased a piece of property from Cascade Trader located at 1380 NW State Ave. for $1.2 million for the site of the city’s new fire station.
The project that was bid is not the construction of the new fire station but for the site preparation work that must be done in order to move the temporary site over to the recently-purchased property.
“For the site preparation work at the city’s new property at Chamber Way and State Avenue that will eventually be home to a brand new, modest fire station headquarters for the city of Chehalis. In the meantime, we are preparing that to be a long-term temporary site in order to move it from its current location,” Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson said.
The Chehalis Fire Department is currently operating out of a temporary site on Arkansas Way in between the Walmart and Home Depot in Chehalis, which is part of the floodplain.
Trent Lougheed, the city’s public works director, is the lead on the fire station project and he presented an overview of the site prep work and the associated costs.
The project prep work includes grading rock, paving the site with asphalt, installing water and sewer services, curb and sidewalk, preparation for the portable structures and some painting and striping for traffic control.
“This will also allow the fire department to no longer pay lease fees to the airport for the improved property and will allow the airport to then lease it out to other developers,” Lougheed said.
The project was sent out to five bidders a week prior to the city council meeting. The city received three bids from Barcott Construction LLC, KBH Construction and Quigg Brothers — with $223,718.18 as the lowest bid from Barcott Construction LLC, a contractor located in Chehalis. The engineer’s estimate for the project was about $282,700. A contingency of 15 percent or $33,560 was added for a total project cost of $257,278.18.
The work will be funded through a portion of the “councilmanic” bond that the city council approved earlier this fall. And the right-of-way work will be funded through the Transportation Benefit District fund.
Before the move to the temporary fire station location on Arkansas Way, the Chehalis firefighters had been staying at the Lewis County Fire District 6 (LCFD6) station since August of 2018 when its primary station was deemed unsafe due to asbestos and other issues.
The city anticipated that agreement lasting until the new fire station could be built. However, the LCFD6 Board of Directors terminated the station sharing agreement with the city of Chehalis this summer, forcing the city to find a temporary location for the city’s firefighters. The reason for the termination of the station-sharing agreement was not made clear but it was said that it “involved personnel,” according to former Chehalis Fire Chief Ken Cardinale.
In order to fund the construction of the new fire station building on the recently-purchased property, the Chehalis City Council will need to decide to place a bond on the ballot to be voted on by Chehalis citizens. The decision of exactly when that will happen is up to the council but Anderson anticipates it will occur sometime in 2022.