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Ocean City

Fire station moves ahead; 130th St. to expand to 11,500 sq. ft.

(Dec. 14, 2012) The City Council gave its approval this week to move into the final stage of architectural work for the long-anticipated reconstruction of the 130th Street fire substation, as well as approving the solicitation of bids for initial design work on the Ocean City Fire Department’s 15th Street headquarters building.

“We’re out of the space planning phase, and we’re moving into actual construction drawings at this point,” Deputy Fire Marshal and Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company President Cliff Christello said at this week’ council meeting, in regards to the north-end building. “We’re at the point where we need to go into the next phase of the contract with the architect.”

Christello has headed the department’s steering committee for station rebuilding, working with City Engineer Terry McGean to maximize the effectiveness of the new construction.

The rebuild of the 130th street substation, known within the OCFD as Station 4, was identified as the department’s priority for capital projects back in 2009 because of the concentration of high rises and year-round residents in the area that Station 4 serves.

“Our main focus has been to rebuild Station 4, and that came out of several years of planning,” Christello said.

Design Atlantic was contracted at that time to do preliminary design and cost estimates for the project in the hopes of garnering federal stimulus money. That funding never came through, however, and the city decided to delay work on the project until it could fit the needed funds into a bond issuance. That money was borrowed in the 2012 municipal bond, at a total of $3.5 million.

Since then, Christello said, McGean and the OCFD have made a number of cuts to the design to make it more cost effective. This has included eliminating the environmentally friendly and energy-efficient “green roof” element, which Christello described as “beneficial, but expensive.”

The first-floor kitchen has also been scaled back, leaving the second floor as the main cooking area.

“It would be redundant to have kitchens on both levels,” Christello said.

Still, the station will provide 11,500 square feet of space, with over one-third more room in the engine bay and additional space for the department’s live-in crew shifts.

The final phase of design work will see actual construction plans and specifications developed, with the anticipation that a builder will be selected this spring. McGean recommended staying with Design Atlantic for the final phase, at a price of $131,125, somewhat less than the budgeted $155,000.

Christello also sought approval to begin the bid process to select an architect for renovations and additions at 15th Street, the department’s second priority behind Station 4.

“We need to do some renovation at headquarters,” Christello said. “To save cost, we didn’t bring in an architect in from the start.”

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