Architect trims fire station

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 1999

After examining all the angles, the City of Ironton decided to scale down rather than cut corners with the new Ironton Fire Station.

Monday, August 09, 1999

After examining all the angles, the City of Ironton decided to scale down rather than cut corners with the new Ironton Fire Station.

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Ironton City Council members, fire fee committee members, IFD representatives and Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary met with architects Tuesday to determine a plan of action for cutting costs.

"The architects have done everything we’ve asked them to do, and we are on schedule as far as the timeline," Cleary said. "But we’re in a position where we can’t wait any longer for word on grant funding, so we had to look at a way to scale back."

Although city officials have talked of bringing the building down to a one-story station for months, the architects didn’t have plans and drawings to show the fire fee committee until Tuesday.

"We have talked about this and we knew it was probably what we would need to do, but we had to look at all the aspects of it before making a decision. It isn’t as though the original building had a lot of extras we could just get rid of; that wasn’t the case," Cleary said. "But we can’t put the project on hold waiting for grant funding, so we had to take a look at how to cut the costs without sacrificing the quality of the facility."

Instead of going an estimated $400,000 over budget, as the original plans and pricing estimate indicated, the new floor plan is much more reasonable, Cleary said.

Architects shaved about 2,200 square feet out of the building, from areas in the dorms and a public meeting room that would have served as additional training space, Cleary said. Costs also were cut by eliminating the elevator, which is not needed in a one-story building.

"This is more in line with what we could afford," Cleary said, adding the costs were cut at least more than $300,000. "If you look at a project like this, there would only be minimal savings by changing the type of building materials used, so we had to come up with a way to scale back that would still be a very attractive facility that would meet the city’s needs now and well into the future. I think we have done just that."

Although the federal grant dollars, if received, would have supplemented fire fee funding, making the two-story building possible, Cleary said there is no chance of a bi-level building now.

"Even after we go out to bid and find out the exact cost, instead of working with estimates, and even if the grant funding is approved later on and everything costs a lot less than we originally thought, this is still the plan we are going with," Cleary said. "If we find ourselves in a position of having money left over, then we will use that money for equipment needs and maintenance."

Making sacrifices is not what IFD Chief Tom Runyon originally envisioned when talk of a new fire station with a then-estimated $1 million price tag began at fire fee committee meetings.

But the building is still everything he hoped it would be, Runyon said. And, with no second level, the building actually brings some added benefits, he said.

"Single story buildings are sometimes more acceptable to OSHA because you have to be able to transfer from the upper floors of a building to the apparatus safely and quickly, so they are sometimes harder on what they consider acceptable in a two-story building. And, there won’t be any elevator contracting," he said. "You might suffer a little bit with cutting down the dorms and meeting room sizes, and there won’t be the space we were looking for in front of the building, but it will still serve the city well."