The Grand Junction City Council approved a contract with FCI Construction to build the new Fire Station 3.

Fire Chief Ken Watkins explained to the City Council, which was holding its first regular meeting with three new council members, why the city is replacing this station at 582 25½ Road.

“This is our oldest fire station,” Watkins said. “It’s actually over 45 years old. It has a number of maintenance and capital needs. We’ve done an evaluation to determine whether we could have done a more cost-effective remodel, and that didn’t look to be successful.”

The station is about half the size of the new stations the city has been building. It also had a number of other issues, including no gender separation in the facility for privacy.

“The design of the station is really inadequate for current firefighting operations,” Watkins said. “We have a number of firefighter safety concerns in the way the station is laid out.”

The new design is a mirror version of the design for Fire Station 6, Watkins said. The plan is to keep firefighters in that building while a new one is constructed where the current parking lot is located south of the building on 25½ Road.

“Our location is excellent for Fire Station 3,” Watkins said. “We did look at moving the fire station to another location, but it really is situated in an ideal location for response. That became even more solidified when we decided where to build Fire Station 7.”

FCI was the sole bidder, City Councilor Dennis Simpson said. He asked Director of General Services Jay Valentine why the city is not rebidding the project.

Valentine said the council could still reject the contract and the city would rebid, but it would further delay the project.

“With the one bidder situation, that is concerning to us as well,” Valentine said. “So we reached out to every contractor that showed up at the pre-bid meeting, which is a requirement of this project to be able to answer any questions prior to soliciting bids.

“For the most part, we felt it wouldn’t do much good to put the bid out again because ... the majority of firms were too busy to bid on the project.”

Watkins also noted that FCI had built Fire Stations 4, 5 and 6 for the city, and that they had a good relationship with the city.

Simpson said that despite the similarity to Fire Station 6, FCI was proposing a guaranteed maximum price of about $4.5 million, which is $700,000 more than for Station 6.

Mark Litzen with FCI Construction said the majority of the increase is because of higher prices for construction material. Watkins said current increase in construction activity is also responsible for delaying the start of the project.

“As you probably are aware, we are running into the same challenges with scheduling and obtaining construction materials that many of the other contractors are in the city,” Watkins said. “So we’re estimating a fall start time.”

The total budget for the project is $5.5 million.

Other business

Council voted unanimously to select Chuck McDaniel as the new mayor of Grand Junction. McDaniel had been serving as interim mayor pro-tem, as the previous mayor and mayor pro-tem were leaving the council after April’s election.

Anna Stout was picked as the new mayor pro-tem in a 6-1 vote. Councilor Phillip Pe’a cast the only dissenting vote.