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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Around the County: Wilder to Break Ground on New Fire Station

Rendering of new fire station to be built next to the Wilder city building.

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

The city of Wilder will begin construction on a new fire station in September. The official groundbreaking is scheduled for Sunday, September 8. The event will take place at 1 p.m. next to the city building at 520 Licking Pike where the new station will be located.

The fire station is one of several projects identified in the city’s updated comprehensive plan, said Wilder City Administrator Terry Vance. A plan for upgrades to a park that runs behind the city building is also under development.

During the development of the plan last year, the city also commissioned a fire facility study and a park and recreation study. Other projects were identified in the plan, but the station and the park upgrades will be the first, said Vance.


Planning for project costs


The new station will replace the city’s two existing fire stations and is expected to cost about $4.2 million. City officials selected Codell Construction to serve as overall construction manager for the project. The company will manage the project, timeline and select the subcontractors.

Officials also went with a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract for the work, said Vance. A GMP establishes a price for a specific scope of work that cannot be exceeded.

"GMP contracts are becoming more common due to delays and overages. It gives us more latitude to know the guaranteed price," he explained. Having a GMP will help the city adjust for uncertainties such as the cost of materials, weather conditions and the busy construction market.

Cincinnati-based McGill, Smith and Punshon (MSP) is the lead architect for the project. MSP is working with a team of engineers to finalize plans for the building.

At the August 5 city council meeting, Vance reported that construction work on the foundation and site work will begin. Council approved $629,763 for the foundation work. Expected completion date for the entire fire station project is fall of 2020.

Creating a multi-purpose sports park


Upgrades to the park that runs behind the city building will cost about $1.8 million. The vision is create an all-purpose sports park on the site.

The baseball field currently at the park will be moved to a more convenient location to make way for improvements that include an expanded play area, a new splash park, a pitching wall, tennis practice court, basketball court, two new shelters and a concession stand.

Two sand volleyball courts will be available that could be used for league play, said Vance. A second groundbreaking for the park is planned but work may not begin until spring 2020 depending on weather conditions.


More city project news


In addition to the fire station and park projects, Vance shared news at the meeting about other city projects underway.

City council approved a bid of $279,255 by Michels Construction for road resurfacing on Bentwood Hills Drive, Vista Point Drive and West Johns Hill Road. The work this year will be asphalt, but it is unclear yet when work will begin due to the uncertainty of the weather, said Vance. Work is scheduled for this fall, but could be pushed out until spring.

Vance also reported on a project to bolster a potential sliding area on Bentwood Hills. As a preventive measure, the city put in piers in 2010. Unfortunately, he said, city crews have discovered earth sliding between the piers, which are 18 inches apart. To combat the problem, plug shafts will be put in between the piers. Cost of the project will be about $31,000.

Geotechnology, Inc. requested just under $5,000 for the design work necessary for the project. Once that work is done, the construction work can be sent out for bid. City council voted to approve the professional services request by the Erlanger engineering firm.

The city is also planning to shift many of its wooden pole street lights to LEDs. The city received a proposal by Duke Energy to swap out six lights for $4,760. Total cost to swap out all the lights is about $87,000.

"That sounds like a lot," said Vance, "but it is about a third of the cost on the monthly bill as it is now, so in about three or four years, it will pay for itself...Cost to operate LED lights is about $2.21 per light per month. Right now it’s about $13.55 per light."


On Vance's recommendation to maximize savings, city council approved the money to swap out all the lights.

Watch for news of a new website in development for the city of Wilder. City staff is in the process of moving information over to the new site now. 

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