The construction of a new home for the Fort St. John Fire Department has an overall budget of $12 million, including $9.8 million for the building itself. Rogers admits it’s been challenging to stay on budget, which started with big changes after an initial tendering process in 2010 that projected a “much more expensive building” than the City was prepared for.
“So we went to a different type of a process and started to pull the existing contract apart and start to put it into a different type of management structure,” he explains. “So we took every piece of it and examined some places we could save some money.”
Other decisions have cost the city more money, like putting a geothermal field system into the building, but Rogers argues that will have a long-term payoff by reducing the amount of money spent on gas in the future. Overall, he says he’s been happy with how the contractors have worked within their budgets, and haven’t sacrificed any quality in the unique and complex building.
“If you’re inside the hall and see the amount of work that’s done, and you take a real good look at a building that is built to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and the complexity in building a building like that,” he argues, “I think it answers its own questions.”
The 20,000 square foot building is self-sufficient, and will function as an emergency response centre for the city with a 50 year lifespan. Its interior is nearly finished, with drywalling now going up over the mechanical and electrical systems, and crews expect to be mostly done by May 1.
The next step is the exterior brick work starting as soon as it warms up, which could be as early as next week, and putting the final touches on the interior through May and June. The final challenge is paving the parking lot, which still needs to be tendered.
“Depending on how long it takes for the snow to go, and for us to get a suitable work environment there, will dictate when we’re fully finished with the parking lot and the landscaping,” explains Rogers.
He’s hopeful for a move in date of July.