Fire station project put back on track

TUPELO – The city will make its second attempt at building a new fire station after the first try proved too costly.
Tupelo officials are seeking contractors to build the two-story brick structure on North Gloster Street that will house Fire Station No. 4.
Its operations currently are located on Rial Drive, right off of Lakeshire Drive, but the city can get a better fire rating if it moves the station closer to the busy Barnes Crossing area.
The better the fire rating, the better the insurance rates for Tupelo residents and businesses.
Contractors have until June 2 to submit their bids to City Hall. Construction is slated to take nine months.
Last time the city sought contractors for the project, each of the five bids submitted came in several hundred thousand dollars over the $750,000 budget. That was in 2007.
Since then, the city has tried to lower the cost of the project by doing its own dirt and utility work on the site, which is just south of the Highway 78 bridge, in the city’s former wastewater retention ditch.
Architect Michael Jones of JBHM told the Daily Journal two years ago that those elements alone would cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars to complete.
Jones also has since redesigned parts of the 5,347-square-foot building to save even more money.
“I do feel like this is a better bid market we’re in now, too,” Jones said. “I feel like more contractors will bid on it. We’re hoping we’ll get a good price.”
City Chief Operations Officer Darrell Smith said he’s not sure contractors will come in under budget this time either, but he said he hopes bids will be less than last time. The lowest bid two years ago was $1,050,000.
The city will pay for the new station with money allocated from a $9.5 million bond issue. The bond also helped pay for Tupelo’s recently completed baseball complex and will fund a new police station when officials finally settle on a location for it.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

 

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal