Happy Valley getting new fire station
Jan 03, 2013 (Carlsbad Current-Argus - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Some Eddy County volunteer fire departments may soon have new digs, while others will see their fire stations remodeled. But how much it will cost is yet to be determined, County Fire Coordinator Robert Brader said.
On Wednesday, the Eddy County Commission approved a bid by NCA, an Albuquerque architectural firm, to do the preliminary work and cost estimate for the construction of a new fire station in Happy Valley and remodel several other stations. Although the commission unanimously approved the architectural services bid, Commissioner Tony Hernandez voiced concern that local architect firms are being left out in the cold.
Of the seven bids the county received, two of the architect firms were located in Carlsbad. Their evaluation scores by a county panel were close to the top bidder.
"The concern I have awarding this to an outside firm is that local architects are not getting county contracts, although they bid on them," Hernandez said after asking the question whether NCA maintains an office in Carlsbad and learning that it does not.
The Albuquerque firm is owned by former Carlsbad resident Robert Calvani, whose firm has over the years successfully bid on large county projects.
Local architect firms say that it is difficult to compete against NCA and other out-of-town firms that have done work for the county in the past. They say some points are given for familiarity with county government through previous large county projects. Representatives from local firms told the commission last year that the odds are stacked against them because of the point system.
Hernandez said in the future, he would like local architect firms to receive strong consideration.
"The question I have is: if a firm gets a higher score, can we go with the lower scorer " Commission Chairman Jack Volpato asked. "We need to keep our business local. I would like to keep our economy profitable."
In reply to Volpato's question, County Manager Allen Sartin said the commission could award a bid to a lower scorer, but it could possibly lead to a lawsuit against the county.
Brader said after the commission meeting that the exact cost of a new fire station and expansion and remodeling of others is difficult to estimate at this time. A needs assessment will have to be done first by the architect.
"We have ideas on what we want. We will provide them to the architect and he will draw up the plans and give us an estimate of what it will cost. From them, we have to decide how to move forward," Brader said.
The funds to build a new fire station in Happy Valley and remodel or add onto stations in North Eddy County that include Riverside, Cottonwood and Atoka, and Otis fire station in South Eddy County, will come from the fire excise tax and some state funds, Brader said.
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