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Design Built estimate almost half the cost of Five Bugles for new Boyceville fire station

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE  —  An estimate by Design Built Structures for a new fire station in Boyceville places the cost at a little more than half of what was estimated by Five Bugles Design.

The Boyceville Fire District’s five-year planning committee met with representatives for Design Built Structures March 31.

Design Built estimated a new fire station would cost $1.5 million.

In February, Five Bugles Design estimated that a one-story building would cost $2.13 million, and the two-story building would cost an estimated $2.7 million.

The Design Built estimate of $1.5 million includes a second story on a new fire station.

The estimate does not, however, include the cost of site acquisition and site preparation, although five-year planning committee members noted the proposed site near the airport is level and probably would not require much in the way of site prep.

Jimmy Harper of Design Built said his rough estimate was “the high end” to also account for heating and electrical work in a new fire station.

To find out a more exact cost, Harper said he would have to consult with heating and electrical engineers.

Harper, and his son, Joel Harper, based their estimates on 6,660 square feet for the apparatus bay of the fire station at a construction cost of $150 per square foot and on 3,808 square feet of the administration portion of the building at $120 per square foot.

The estimate also included a second story of 3,808 square feet at an additional construction cost of $20 per square foot.

The second story of the proposed fire station would be used only for storage at first, but would be available in subsequent years if the Boyceville Fire Department decided to go full-time and have firefighters sleeping at the fire station.

Five-year planning committee members wondered if the new fire station would be required to have an elevator for the second story.

Jimmy Harper said regulations would not require an elevator if the fire station had sleeping quarters upstairs but also a room available downstairs for someone who is handicapped.

Rich Monn, chair of the Town of Stanton and chair of the five-year planning committee, said the same regulations applied to the new EMS station in Boyceville.

As long as the same accommodations were available downstairs at the EMS station as on the second floor, regulations did not require an elevator, he said.

Monn also noted that the regulations made no sense to him.

A fire department is not going to have a firefighter who is handicapped and in a wheelchair, he said.

Heating for the new fire station would be expected to be in-floor heat and a Modine ceiling furnace, Monn said.

One committee member noted that the prices quoted by Five Bugles Design was for a “turnkey” building.

Site prep for the Five Bugles Design fire station was listed at $500,000.

Joel Harper said that since the proposed site is flat, $500,000 seemed high.

Don Rose, Boyceville director of public works and also a member of the fire department, said site preparation for the new fire station would include sewer and water and extending the street.

Joel Harper said he would figure the cost for a turnkey building and also would figure out a percentage increase that might be likely over the next few years.

The cost of steel, wood and labor generally increases by 3.5 percent to 5 percent per year, he said.

On $1.5 million building, a 5 percent increase per year would amount to $75,000.

The fire district cannot proceed with seeking grants from the Otto Bremer Foundation or financing from other sources without having numbers to work with, Monn said.

“We need to have at least a close ballpark before we can proceed,” he said.

The cost estimates also have to be as close as possible before taking the information to the fire district board, Monn said.

Town boards in the fire district need to know how much the fire station will cost, too, so board members can plan for financing the township’s portion of a new fire station, either through saving money or borrowing money, said Paul Wathke, representative for the Town of Sherman.

“I want to see the fire barn built, but I don’t want to push it too fast,” Monn said.

The Boyceville Fire District meets next on April 15.