The Midlothian City Council approved construction costs for the new Fire Station No. 1 during its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

The meeting was the last for councilmembers Jimmie McClure and Joe Frizzell before the May 4 election. Frizzell was out sick for the meeting.

Two years ago, a bond was passed by the city to allow $9.1 million to go toward constructing a new fire station and training facility for the Midlothian Fire Department. Tuesday, the council unanimously approved two items regarding that expenditure.

About $8.1 million will go toward the construction of the station while the other $1 million will construct the training facility, Midlothian Fire Chief Dale McCaskill said.

McCaskill presented a contractor for the fire station which is Steele and Freeman Incorporated. The company can build the station at a maximum price of $7,243,465. That comes out to about $457 per square foot.

“The numbers are not exactly what I would like it to be,” he said. “It’s been a journey for the last year trying to nail down a price in this market.”

The station will take about 373 days to complete, but that does not include weather delay days, he noted.

He said the costs reflect the rise in steel prices and the complexity of the soil in the area. The station will be located west of Main Street and U.S. Highway 287.

“I still believe it’s in the exact spot it needs to be functionally to respond and we’re dealing with the soils to stay there,” McCaskill noted.

He said, with the approval, the project will start eating into its contingency funds, but he anticipates it will stay beneath the $9.1 million total.

“We’re all working very hard together to get where we are today,” he added.

Councilmember Mike Rodgers was concerned about dipping into the projects’ contingency funds. He asked about the wording of the bond and wanted to know if the training facility funds were specifically noted in case some of those funds had to go toward the station.

He noted that he is not advocating to do so and was asking out of curiosity for the project.

City Manager Chris Dick said the bond was for the new fire department and did not list specific totals for each of the projects.

“You could have used all $9.1 million on a fire station if you wanted,” Dick noted.

McCaskill said the training facility has brought many complications with it. During the April 9 council meeting, the council unanimously approved a construction bid to GAW Construction Services to construct the structural foundation for $121,384.

Tuesday, he said that was no longer enough and asked the council for an additional $20,000.

He added that amount is more than will be needed but wanted to approve a larger amount to avoid having to come back before council. He anticipates it will actually take an additional $7,500 to $10,000.

The council unanimously approved the additional costs.

“There are still some savings to be had,” McCaskill said.

They are looking at changing some of the masonries to save some money. Even with the additional costs, McCaskill does not anticipate surpassing the $9.1 million budgeted for the project.


Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty