A project to update and improve the Town and Country firehouse at Mason and Clayton roads will cost the city nearly one million dollars.
At last Monday's board of aldermen work session, aldermen got an update on the renovation project.
Town and Country Department of Public Works Director Craig Wilde explained planned updates and associated costs will total an estimated $853,400.
Wilde explained that improvements will include better HVAC control, generator capacity, function for two genders of firefighters, general wear, maintenance and comfort. His presentation is included in the PDF portion of this article.
Wilde also said currently high ceilings make it hard to heat and cool the building and create a lot of noise in the building.
"The firehouse is occupied 24/7. It's been that way for 22, 23 years now. Things are just worn out," Wilde told the mayor and aldermen. "It's generally an uncomfortable building to live in."
West County EMS and Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Jeff Sadtler tells Patch that the firehouse was built in 1991 and has not been updated in nearly a decade.
"It's essentially the same as it was when it was built," Sadtler said. "The architecture of the engine house is cool, but the functionality is not. A lot of what's being improved will result in cost savings in operating the engine house as far as heating and cooling, etc."
Sadtler said in addition to cost savings, the improvements are necessary to keep up with modern technology. He said his staff has been asking for upgrades for a while.
"Historically there have been been some problems with operating out of the engine house, basically due to upgrades in technology, the internet and the way dispatch calls are handled," Sadtler said. "The infastructure of the building itself has not been capable of handling the upgrades."
In addition to operating and cost saving upgrades, the bunkroom will be udpated and divided to provide privacy for men and women, a larger generator will back up all building functions and drop ceilings will be installed to control noise. The project will also replace and upgrade parts of the bathroom and appliances in the kitchen, plus expand the fitness room.
Wilde said the fire crews will be housed at a BJC building and the old Highway Patrol facility during construction.
He hopes to be ready to begin work on the building by June 15 and expects to have fire crews back in the updated firehouse by September. Wilde said it will likely be October when all of the construction is complete.
Wilde said $900,000 in funds have already been appropriated for the project in the city's 2012 budget and all bids for the contract came in under that amount.
He said $853,400 is the anticipated total project cost. He broke that number down for aldermen saying the actual cost of the contract for the project is $744,000, $74,400 is bugeted for contingency and $35,000 is the expected cost for the relcation of firemen off site.
Wilde said it would cost more to keep the firemen at the station during construction, plus that would would extend the length of the project.
Aldermen will have to approve the $744,000 in funds for the actual cost of the contract for the project. They will likely vote at the next board of aldermen meeting on April 23. Hof Construction is set to complete the work on the firehouse.