MOUNT DESERT — If voters at a special town meeting on March 8 approve, the town will borrow $949,590 to renovate the Somesville fire station to provide living quarters and workspace for fire and EMS personnel.
Two general contractors bid on the project, with King Construction Services of Machias submitting the low bid of $783,500. The Select Board awarded the construction contract to King at a special meeting on Monday.
In addition to the construction itself, there will be costs totaling an estimated $166,000, which include a 15 percent construction contingency plus furniture and appliances, computer workstations and the drilling of a well.
Fire Chief Mike Bender summarized the scope of the renovation work in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt: “The project will include renovating the area where the office, restrooms, hallway, kitchen and meeting room are now located.
Improvements will include adding three bunk rooms, a kitchen and dayroom area, an office and lobby where staff will conduct administrative duties and greet the public, and two restrooms with showers.”
Bender said the project also would include the addition of heat pumps for the living quarters. The existing boiler will continue to be used to heat the truck bays.
If voters approve issuing bonds for the project, work could begin soon after the March 8 special town meeting, Bender said, with completion expected in September or October.
Finance Director Jake Wright told the Select Board that the town could use a portion of its undesignated funds balance to pay for the fire station project. But he said that money probably should be used, instead, to help offset an anticipated tax increase.
He recommended that the town borrow the nearly $1 million for the Somesville project and “take advantage of this really incredible bond market we find ourselves in, where we have rising inflation and low interest costs.”