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New south side fire station could cost $2.4 million

Depending on design options, the Grand Forks Fire Department will likely need more than $344,000 in additional construction costs of a new fire station in southeast Grand Forks.

The extra costs, Battalion Chief Kelli Flermoen said, come after receiving updated projections from architects EAPC, which had not been updated since 2012.

Some of the additional options proposed to the City Council Service and Safety Committee Tuesday include glass overhead garage doors, a floor heating system in the engine bay and a depot addition for use by the police department.

“We need to have a direction from you because we want to move on to the next phase,” Fire Chief Pete O’Neill said at the meeting. “We have to have a feel if these numbers are realistic.”

The station is planned for the 1100 block of 47th Avenue South.

Council member Terry Bjerke said he wants to go over the financials more closely before making a decision on the overall costs. Bjerke will meet with fire officials July 7 before it is presented to the committee again next month.

“We had dreamed to build it for less money, but the city was aware it was a moving target,” O’Neill. said. “We’re not overly shocked.”

Original projections put the costs of the station near $2.1 million, which could go up to more than $2.4 million, depending on the committee’s decision.

Another building decision to be made includes two paving options, which ultimately comes down to whether or not a public access roadway would connect the station to a parking lot near the Icon hockey arena. Flermoen said a decision has yet to be made, but said there is about a $25,000 difference in the two options.

 Construction is set to begin spring 2015, O’Neill said, and added the purchase of the three-acre lot is being finalized.

Once the station is open in 2016, the department will hire 12 more firefighters, the first time it has increased its staff since 1972. The staffing increase will require a $1.2 million increase in the yearly budget, but O’Neill said the department has been preparing for this increase over the years.

“There's been a lot of planning, and it’s been nice to see it move along,” O’Neill said. “It’s been on the radar for the past 10 years and it’s time to move forward.”