By Linda Dillman
Facing an audience not permitted to comment on the proceedings, the Madison Township trustees, by a 2-1 vote, approved resolutions moving new Fire Station 183 from plans on paper to construction groundbreaking.
One resolution approved by the trustees authorized Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst to sign a $3.5 million design-build agreement, which does not include $291,067 in design fees. The trustees also voted to accept a list of subcontractors recommended by Turner Construction. Trustees Ed Dildine and Victor Paini voted to approve the resolutions and trustee John Kershner opposed them.
Approval paves the way to begin construction, which Brobst hopes will begin at the end of July.
“Turner will notify us when they’re ready to break ground,” said Brobst after the special trustee meeting on July 5. “Now they have the official go-ahead. We are getting the resolution to the bond council to update the document with Turner. At the same time, our fiscal officer is finalizing financing. Once that is all done, we’ll be good to go.”
Following delays, the project was pushed into the midst of the construction season. Brobst said some of the original pricing became a lot higher, but she hopes Turner will be able to work with subcontractors to bring down costs.
Kershner said much money has already been spent on the project, including design fees by Turner and architect fees, along with fees paid to legal counsel.
“We’ve never been on budget,” said Kershner. “The five-year plan had a fire EMS substation. Now we have an EMS station with bays for expansion. It’s like we sent a kid out for milk and he brought back a dairy farm.”
While the station’s hardy planking design was intended to fit in with the aesthetics of neighboring Blacklick Estates, Kershner said the material does not have the life expectancy of the steel and masonry construction of stations 181 and 182.
“There’s no hardy planking in Blacklick Estates. Vertical siding is very common in Blacklick Estates. Our cost is now $350 per square foot, once you roll in design and legal fees,” alleged Kershner. “We’re overspending, not confirming vendors and overbuilding. That’s why I voted ‘no’ on everything. I’m just watching the money.”
Kershner said he has not seen verification or a comparison of the costs of the project versus other general contractors besides Turner.
“When the numbers finally came in and they were so high per square foot compared with the national average, that’s when I wanted to see a cost verification or comparison,” said Kershner. “I would not object to the size of the facility or how ornate it is if costs came in at a reasonable square footage. When I look at the national average, we’re way over it for a similar building.”