The Minocqua Town Board awarded a $2,455,500 contract Tuesday to the Marshfield–based Boson Company to build the town’s new fire station. Including land purchase and other costs, the total project cost will be about $3.17 million.
The low bid by Boson is $600,000 under estimates, according to town officials who met in special session with its fire department expansion committee. The town will have to borrow money for its construction, which is to be substantially completed by next November.
Fire Chief Andy Petrowski says the new station off U.S. Highway 51 South will not only be welcomed by the volunteer firefighters, but that the planning process by the architectural firm MSA and by others also greatly benefited town taxpayers. “It means a lot for the volunteers as well as the taxpayers,” he said. “I think that due diligence was shown in the amount of effort that MSA, our town board, our building committee put into the project. We are pretty confident that it’s going to be in the $600,000 mark less than what we budgeted and expected it to be. “We are very excited that construction can now start and all those hurdles are cleared,” he continued. “It’s going to be an 80-year station for these people. It’s going to take the worry of any kind of future fire department expense off the table for a long time.” While not an official recruiting tool, the new station will instill an added sense of pride of being a Minocqua volunteer firefighter, he said.
The department has 39 volunteers, including those at Station 2 in Bo-di-Lac. Board members were pleased with the lower-than-expected base bid.
“Good job by all involved,” said Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim. The town electorate last October had authorized spending upwards of $3.4 million for the new building and related architectural fees. In 2015, the town purchased a 4-acre parcel for $375,000 for the site of the new station, and paid for it with town funds. Hartzheim said the board may authorize borrowing an additional $375,000 in order to replenish town coffers for that earlier withdraw. Town Clerk Roben Haggart is looking into various borrowing scenarios, and will present them to the board later. Hartzheim noted that the town will shed a couple of loans next year, so it could be a wash in debt service payments. The town received eight bids for the station construction, all within a half million dollars from low to high. The next lowest bid was from Fred J. Piette Co, Inc., for $2,477,121. The highest was $2.78 million. The town had wanted bid requests out in February, hoping to attract competitive bids from companies looking to fill their summer work schedules. The bids include seven alternates, including applying an epoxy coating on the floor of the apparatus bay and purchase of a large electrical generator. Petrowski said the department volunteers have agreed to spend upwards of $95,000 on furnishing the new station. They raised the money through donations and fundraisers over the years. The Boson Company will employ a few local subcontractors, but much of the work required more personnel than area companies could provide, said Petrowski.
Once the new station is built, the department will abandon its downtown station. A couple of options discussed include tearing down the metal building and using the space for parking, or using it for storage of street department equipment and other items.