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Beaufort Council Approves Mossy Oak Fire Station

Hazel Digital Media Admin - Friday, January 23, 2015

On January 20th, Island Packet Staff Writer Erin Moody Reported that After years of discussing and revising plans -- and discussing and revising them again -- Beaufort is getting a new fire station.

With little fanfare Tuesday night, City Council unanimously approved a $2.55 million contract for the new Mossy Oaks station with Fraser Construction, although Councilman Phil Cromer had legal questions and Councilman Mike McFee asked about some of the materials and fire codes.

But "I figure, since they're a fire company, they can put that out," he quipped.

The total project cost is expected to be $3.3 million, which includes land acquisition and improvements, an alley access road and a stormwater project. That's more than $1 million more than originally anticipated.

The project has its roots in a 2008 plan to renovate the existing fire station. More than $2.2 million was set aside from low-interest bonds sold at the time to raise money for projects, including the new City Hall and a courts and police building.

The plan was set aside in 2009 because of the recession.

In recent years, project goals changed to focus on replacing the 45-year-old Mossy Oaks station, at 2519 Mossy Oaks Road, with a building at 1120 Ribaut Road. What the city will do with the old building hasn't been determined, according to city finance director Kathy Todd.

The plan for the new facility is for a 10,000-square-foot neighborhood station that could be renovated into a joint Port Royal and Beaufort headquarters, if desired.

The two-story, red-brick fire station will face Ribaut Road, so engines can pull directly onto the main thoroughfare. Parking and vehicle access will be to the south through a rear alley.

As plans moved forward, problems including sandy soil, drainage and access pushed back the start date and pushed up costs by $570,000.

Fraser, one of five companies that bid on the project, originally bid $2.79 million. That was reduced by about $250,000 through additional project review.

With those additional costs, the project overran funding by more than $550,000, which City Council chose to take out of the $765,000 in the assigned capital projects fund.

"These are your dollars to go to for these types of things," city manager Scott Dadson told council members last week.

Other funding came from: $2.27 million from the bonds; $109,000 from the stormwater fund; $360,000 from the committed fund balance set aside for the purchase of land; and $3,750 from a fund related to an S.C. Electric and Gas agreement.

Fraser will have 250 days to complete the fire station, after it gets the go-ahead from city officials in the coming weeks.

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