Renovations are underway at Fire Station No. 1 in Lake Orion

Renovations are underway at Fire Station No. 1 in Lake Orion

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

Construction is underway at Fire Station No. 1, an investment that township officials hope will bring the nearly 40-year-old building up-to-date to meet the Orion Township Fire Department’s needs for decades to come.

The fire station at 93 S. Anderson St. in Lake Orion closed March 31. Construction began April 2, with a tentative scheduled completion date Aug. 24.

Firefighters will then move back in, with full occupancy slated for Aug. 31, according to the project schedule submitted by Cunningham-Limp, the Novi-based construction managers for the project.

Besides renovations to the existing station, the project also includes new public restrooms accessible from the exterior of the fire station and a new parking lot with 19 spaces between the Orion Art Center building and the fire station.

During construction, firefighters will be staged out of Fire Station No. 4 at 465 S. Baldwin Rd.

Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said he is optimistic that vacating the building during the construction process will make completion quicker than if the firefighters had remained in the building. Initially, plans had firefighters staffing the station during construction.

The final construction costs are $2.512 million, with most of the funds coming from the Fire Capital Improvement Fund and the remaining balance coming from the township’s host fee fund.

The cost for the parking lot construction is an additional $141,000.

The township board awarded the bids for remodeling Fire Station No. 1 in February, including the addition of the public parking lot for the sum not to exceed $2,653,500.

The township has asked the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority to become a partner on the project and contribute $138,500 toward the public parking lot, which would benefit the entire community. There are 19 proposed parking spaces for the lot on the south side of the fire station.

The DDA Board of Directors met on Tuesday after Lake Orion Review press time to discuss, and possibly approve, contributing to the parking lot.

DDA Director Molly LaLone said if the village wants to become a designated Iron Belle trailhead in the future, the village would need outdoor restrooms and additional parking.

Fire Station No. 1 was originally constructed in 1980 and is a 5,000-square foot building. While the station is in the village limits, Orion Township collects the fire millage and maintains the station. Township officials have said they wanted one of the fire stations to remain in the village to serve those residents – who are also township residents.

“This is long overdue. This station handles our most runs,” said township Trustee Mike Flood. “This is a great location and we need to have a fire station in our village.”

The township had hoped to begin the project last fall and have it completed by the end of 2017. Construction bids, however, came in higher than anticipated so the township board put the project on hold until spring, hoping for lower bids.

“Progress stalled last fall when we struggled to get competitive bids for several of the trades required for the project,” Barnett said.

Architect Scott Reynolds of Auger Klein Aller Architects in Lake Orion worked with the township to design the new station.

Reynolds said the renovations include increasing some of the amenities to update from an old, on-call fire department to a fulltime, co-ed fire department. Currently, there are no facilities for the department’s female firefighters.

“We’re looking at a renovation that would last 40 years, so that we don’t have to come back in 10 years (and discuss this),” he said.

The project includes a new roof and siding, asphalt paving, HVAC, living quarters, interior finishes (such as carpeting, plumbing, tilework), offices and separate facilities for women.

The township had originally anticipated a budget of $800,000 – $1.2 million for the project, but expected costs reached $1.6 – $1.8 million. Those costs have increased substantially since initial planning began and construction costs have skyrocketed.

Barnett said he was frustrated that costs have increased so much, but all construction costs are high right now and the township did not want to wait any longer to begin the renovations.

The township has planned a new fire station for some time, purchasing property on Atwater Street to possibly build a new station: however, those costs were estimated at $3 million or more and t

Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said he is optimistic that vacating the building during the construction process will make completion quicker than if the firefighters had remained in the building. Initially, plans had firefighters staffing the station during construction.

The final construction costs are $2.512 million, with most of the funds coming from the Fire Capital Improvement Fund and the remaining balance coming from the township’s host fee fund.

The cost for the parking lot construction is an additional $141,000.

The township board awarded the bids for remodeling Fire Station No. 1 in February, including the addition of the public parking lot for the sum not to exceed $2,653,500.

The township has asked the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority to become a partner on the project and contribute $138,500 toward the public parking lot, which would benefit the entire community. There are 19 proposed parking spaces for the lot on the south side of the fire station.

The DDA Board of Directors met on Tuesday after Lake Orion Review press time to discuss, and possibly approve, contributing to the parking lot.

DDA Director Molly LaLone said if the village wants to become a designated Iron Belle trailhead in the future, the village would need outdoor restrooms and additional parking.

Fire Station No. 1 was originally constructed in 1980 and is a 5,000-square foot building. While the station is in the village limits, Orion Township collects the fire millage and maintains the station. Township officials have said they wanted one of the fire stations to remain in the village to serve those residents – who are also township residents.

“This is long overdue. This station handles our most runs,” said township Trustee Mike Flood. “This is a great location and we need to have a fire station in our village.”

The township had hoped to begin the project last fall and have it completed by the end of 2017. Construction bids, however, came in higher than anticipated so the township board put the project on hold until spring, hoping for lower bids.

“Progress stalled last fall when we struggled to get competitive bids for several of the trades required for the project,” Barnett said.

Architect Scott Reynolds of Auger Klein Aller Architects in Lake Orion worked with the township to design the new station.

Reynolds said the renovations include increasing some of the amenities to update from an old, on-call fire department to a fulltime, co-ed fire department. Currently, there are no facilities for the department’s female firefighters.

“We’re looking at a renovation that would last 40 years, so that we don’t have to come back in 10 years (and discuss this),” he said.

The project includes a new roof and siding, asphalt paving, HVAC, living quarters, interior finishes (such as carpeting, plumbing, tilework), offices and separate facilities for women.

The township had originally anticipated a budget of $800,000 – $1.2 million for the project, but expected costs reached $1.6 – $1.8 million. Those costs have increased substantially since initial planning began as construction costs have skyrocketed.

Barnett said he was frustrated that costs have increased so much, but all construction costs are high right now and the township did not want to wait any longer to begin the renovations.

The township has planned a new fire station for some time, purchasing property on Atwater Street to possibly build a new station: however, those costs were estimated at $3 million or more and township officials felt it would be fiscally responsible to renovate the existing station with the necessary upgrades.

ownship officials felt it would be fiscally responsible to renovate the existing station with the necessary upgrades.

 

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