Morton Buildings provides $1.8 million figure for Bernardston fire station construction

  • Bernardston Fire Station, Wednesday. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Thursday, June 08, 2017

BERNARDSTON — Anticipated construction costs for a new fire station are back from Morton Buildings, a construction company out of Westfield, and the results are favorable for Bernardston’s Fire Station Expansion Committee.

According to committee member Scott Digeorge, representatives from Morton Buildings reported building a 7,290-square-foot station with 18-foot metal walls and six 14-foot by 16-foot overhead doors would cost $1.8 million.

The committee first decided last month to inquire about Morton Buildings’ estimates, hoping to keep costs down to a figure that might pass at town meeting, as opposed to the $3.7 million figure it received from architecture and engineering firm Stevens & Associates, which conducted a study for the town.

“That’s not going to include site work and land acquisition,” Digeorge said of Morton Buildings’ estimate.

Electrical, heating and plumbing work would also be negotiated with other contractors.

“They don’t get into the interior of that at all,” Digeorge noted.

Morton Buildings’ plans are based on the committee moving forward with a 5.62-acre lot at 23 Kringle Drive, which the Selectboard authorized a $500 payment to hold during a meeting last month. The lot’s sellers were originally asking $695,000 for the property, though Selectman Robert Raymond has been tasked with negotiating the best possible price.

According to Morton Buildings’ website, the company has constructed more than 1,000 municipal buildings across the country, including fire stations. Digeorge said the figures he received from the company were “based on other projects that they’ve done.” Other projects in Bernardston include buildings for Dead River Company and CaroVail, according to Fire Chief and committee Chairman Peter Shedd.

In response to the $1.8 million figure, committee members continued to bounce around ideas to minimize costs. For example, committee member Jane Dutcher, who is also chairwoman of the Finance Committee, wondered if having 18-foot walls for the apparatus bays and 12-foot walls for training rooms and office space would make for a cheaper building.

“I feel with the pricing he gave us, you’re only going to be able to improve on it,” Digeorge said.

The committee also unanimously voted to seek advice from Andrea Woods of Franklin Regional Council of Governments concerning how to divide the project to save money, while still abiding with state laws.

You can reach Shelby Ashline
at: sashline@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 257