Minocqua Town Board To Decide Firm For Fire Station

May 16, 2016

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The Minocqua Town Board will be asked Tuesday to approve a $180,000 contact with the Baraboo architectural firm MSA Professional Services to design Minocqua’s new fire station.

The Minocqua Fire Station Committee recently recommended approval of the contract, bumping it up by $6,000 to include a couple of optional services. Fire Chief Andy Petrowski said having MSA design the voice, video and data communications as well as the security and keyless entry system for an extra $6,000 would actually save money. “I just don’t know how you would either go outside of that firm to try to bid it separately at anywhere near that cheap of cost, or try do it after the fact,” he said. The $6,000 does not cover installation or hardware.

Former town chairman Don Gauger said it is unsettling that a public safety facility such as a fire station has to be monitored against vandalism and theft. Board member Bryan Jennings reminded him that the new fire station would be located in a semi-secluded area of town. Gauger conceded the point, adding that outside lighting is important for proper security also. Among other points discussed: architect’s fees could increase if the overall cost of construction rises substantially. There will be added costs for on-site inspection, possibly one or more days a week. Petrowski said it’s vital that a knowledgeable general contractor be selected. “It’s mind-boggling on how much money they can save on this,” he said.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim said the contractors should save as many trees as possible when clearing the lot. Members very briefly discussed how to finance the project, noting that the town clerk will help determine payment options, including paying some of the architect’s fees this year.

The town board will ask the electorate at the November annual meeting for permission to build the estimated $2 million station. The committee and town board are confident that they will get that green light. The electorate last year overwhelmingly approved buying the land for $375,000. Plans call for the one-story, 15,000-square-foot fire station to be built on land along U.S. Highway 51 South near West Clawson Drive. Design work should be finished by this December, with bid letting next January, awarding of bids in February and construction starting March or April through October.

The current downtown station, which lacks adequate space, will be abandoned once the new one is built.