Portland to open bids for fire station repairs

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PORTLAND — Bids for the job to repair, renovate and upgrade the North Deering fire station at 386 Allen Ave. are scheduled to be opened Aug. 28 at City Hall.

A kitchen fire closed the station almost a year ago and the city is projecting it will cost at least $1.3 million to get it updated and reopened.

On Aug. 13, city councilors approved allocating $1 million of the $3.3 million earned from the sale of the city-owned parking lot on Thames Street to help fund the work needed.

A request for proposals from the city was issued earlier this month, requiring interested parties to attend an Aug. 15 pre-bid conference. City records show 21 people from a variety of contracting firms attended.

The RFP seeks a lump sum bid, with the provision that the work will be completed by April 29.

Project plans and specifications have already been drafted by city-based Winton Scott architects. 

Since the fire station closed, its crews have been based in the Riverton station on Forest Avenue, and the East Deering Station on Ocean Avenue.

“The existing building, (of 5,130 square feet) will be completely renovated and will be used for living space, a fitness room, an apparatus bay, an office space, bunk rooms, and bathrooms,” the RFP said.

The project will also include a 500-square-foot expansion for storage and a washroom.

Earlier this month Kathy Alves, director of Public Buildings/Waterfront, said expanding the station any further would require the city to buy more land. The fire station is near the intersection of Allen and Washington avenues and is abutted by the Northgate Shopping Center.

The contractor selected for the job will be required to have an onsite project superintendent with at least five years experience, according to the RFP.

The North Deering renovations would be the first major work done on emergency facilities in decades in a city where all the fire stations are aging. 

A report by Facets Consulting of Flagstaff, Arizona, released in October 2017, determined five of seven city fire stations on the mainland should be replaced, although they are properly sited for effective use.

Improvements in equipment, larger modern apparatus, and a change in demographics in fire and rescue operations are primary reasons for needed changes.

The work will also bring the fire station into compliance with modern safety codes. The new and improved North Deering fire station is also expected to be a template for improvements at remaining stations, especially those off the peninsula on Forest, Stevens and Ocean avenues.

The Facets report also said 50 years is a recommended life expectancy for a fire station. The newest mainland fire station is on Munjoy Hill at 134 Congress St. It is 41 years old. North Deering is more than 50 years old, and the central fire station at 380 Congress St. is more than 90 years old. 

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Bid to repair and upgrade the North Deering fire station, 386 Allen Ave., are expected to be opened Aug. 28 at Portland City Hall.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.