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NCFPD approves Station 3 design-build contract

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The North County Fire Protection District awarded TELACU Construction Management a design-build contract to replace Station 3 in Rainbow.

A 5-0 NCFPD board vote Tuesday, April 25, directed district staff to execute a contract with TCM for design-build services of Station 3. The action also allocated $3,500,000 of funding for the fire station and authorized an additional $350,000 for potential change orders. Initially, TCM will be paid $387,762 for the design phase, and the construction will likely be authorized following the completion of the design.

“We’re looking forward to upgrading that facility,” NCFPD Fire Chief Keith McReynolds said. “It’s a big deal for us; it is much needed.”

NCFPD was created in 1986 when the Fallbrook Fire Protection District merged with the county service area. They provided fire protection to Rainbow, and Gavilan Mountain was added to the new district.

The Rainbow Volunteer Fire Department retained its autonomy and the Rainbow fire station became NCFPD Station 6. The station was renamed Station 3 in 2018 when the original Station 3 in Olive Hill was closed due to the relocation of Station 5 in Bonsall. The Rainbow Volunteer Fire Department was consolidated into the North County Fire Protection District in 2018. What is now Station 3 was built in the 1970s.

Because the Rainbow fire station utilized a volunteer fire department, living quarters were not incorporated into the design. In February 2021, the NCFPD board authorized up to $425,000 for the purchase, construction, and installation of a modular building to be used for crew living quarters. The plan was for the modular building to be the first phase of the upgrade and an extensive remodel of the existing facility to be the second phase.

The existing fire station would remain and be used for such functions as storage, laundry facilities and an exercise and fitness area. A modular building currently on the site which has been used as a training facility would be removed.

The February 2021 decision was made before the allocation of $900,000 for Station 3 in the 2021-2022 state budget. State Assemblymember Marie Waldron presented a $900,000 check to the fire district at the December 2021 NCFPD board meeting. The county is also applying for $494,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funding for Station 3 upgrades. The funding will allow for a conventional construction remodel of Station 3.

The $621,600 estimated expense to renovate 777 square feet is the same for both the modular option and the conventional construction scenario as is the $300,000 fee allowance and the $80,000 budgeted cost for fire station alerting equipment. Modular living quarters have a $450,000 cost estimate while adding 1,740 square feet to the current station has an estimated cost of $1,740,000.

Including contingency and incidental costs, the total budget for the modular alternative is $1,566,760 while the conventional construction total cost is estimated at $2,985,760. The lifespan of a modular building is approximately 20 years while the lifespan of conventional construction is generally 50 years.

The fire district budgeted $425,000 for the modular building, so that funding would be available for conventional construction. Property tax revenue for Rainbow would allow $1,655,193 to be used for the Station 3 upgrade, so with the state and American Rescue Plan Act funding, the fire district would have $3,474,193 available. A 5-0 NCFPD board vote in January 2022 recommended conventional construction rather than a modular building for the upgrade.

The January 2022 vote also authorized NCFPD staff to hire a construction management company to oversee the design-build process for the Station 3 renovation, and a request for proposals was issued.

Erickson-Hall was the lowest responsive bidder, and at the May 2022, board meeting a $395,340 contract was approved for Erickson-Hall’s construction management services to renovate Station 3.

The Erickson-Hall scope of work included three phases: the planning phase with request for statements of qualifications for the construction contract, the request for proposals and the preparation and selection of a design team.

The evaluation included a review of overall build experience, experience of key design-build and architectural personnel, costs, proposed methods and strategy and applicant interviews. TCM, which is based in Orange, was determined to be the preferred contractor for the design-build services.

A guaranteed maximum price and schedule will be established following the completion of the design. Once the design is completed, NCFPD staff will ask the board for a contract amendment to include the guaranteed maximum price for actual construction. The contract will be established on a cost-plus-fee basis with the guaranteed maximum price, and the contract will be structured so that all savings are returned to the fire district.

“We are hoping to be in the construction phase by this time next year,” McReynolds said.

It is possible that seismic building standard or septic system upgrade requirements will require additional funding, in which case NCFPD staff will return to the board with an updated finance plan recommendation.

A 5-0 NCFPD board vote Tuesday, March 28, authorized district staff to execute a contract with Erickson-Hall Construction for construction management services on a new Station 4 at the current site in the 4300 block of Pala Mesa Drive, so replacement of that fire station is also anticipated in the near future.

“We’re making great strides with our facilities right now, and I’m very pleased with that,” McReynolds said.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].


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