An Edmonton company will be designing and managing construction of the new fire hall on 3752-47 Street.
City council awarded the contract to ACI Architects Inc. for just over $513,000 with a 10 per cent contingency allowance. ACI was the lowest bidder for the project and the city has previously hired the company to develop the second floor of the RCMP building. According to ACI’s website, the firm mainly has experience building schools and RCMP headquarters.
City staff had originally recommended the city to hire S2 Architecture for the project at a cost of around $657,000. The S2 was the prime consultant, interior designer and architect for the Lloydminster Operations Centre. The company also has experience designing fire halls in Calgary and Nanaimo.
According to city administration’s evaluation, S2 received a score of 83.93 for their criteria while ACI received an 83.5. Councillor Michael Diachuk made the motion to hire S2 but the motion was defeated.
“From my standpoint, we probably need somebody who’s had a lot of experience going through this because it’s good to have that breath of knowledge behind you. I wasn’t privy to the interviews. I don’t know to what degree ACI has and they may have as good of experience as S2 does, but what I did hear was that was an element that played a key part in the decision making for city administration.”
Diachuk did support the motion to hire ACI, but wants city staff involved in overseeing the project to ensure it comes through.
“Dollars are short. We are in a time where budgets have been literally thrown aside because of COVID. I’m sure ACI will come through. The bottom line is whether or not it’s within the cost and has all the things we want to be in there. I trust administration to do their homework and make sure in the end we come ahead on this project.”
Mayor Gerald Aalbers echoes the concern and says the city will be keeping a close eye on the development of the fire hall.
“We’ll have a team from the city, our engineer, our buildings people as well as the fire department will be represented on the city’s side ensuring our needs are met in the first pass.”
Ultimately, he says the decision comes down to the city saving $140,000.
“One of the challenges we have is determining the best value to the taxpayers. At the end of the day, when the building is finished and handed over to us for $8.5 million and no extras then we made the right decision.”
Firehall #1 was deemed near its end of life in a building report last year. The building was built in the 1940s and has been renovated multiple times and it is no longer practical to use the building as a Firehall.
An estimated cost to replace it was priced at over $10 million and the city has budgeted $8.5 million for the project in the 2020 budget. No timeline has been announced for when construction would start.