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Santa Monica Council Approves Construction Contract for New Fire Station Downtown


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

March 28, 2018 -- After more than a decade of struggle, the Sant Monica City Council Tuesday approved a $29.1 million contract for construction of a new three-story downtown Fire Hall to replace the 1950s-era existing station.

Bernards Bros. Inc., a California-based corporation, won the okay for construction of Fire Station No. 1 on 7th Street near Santa Monica Boulevard at the council’s regular meeting.

In acting, the council authorized negotiation of a contract not to exceed $26,525,000, with an additional $2,652,500 contingency, or 10 percent.

It is a big step forward for the City, which has been navigating a complicated path over the issue since a 2007 study found the already cramped 1955 fire hall –- characterized by wood frame and stucco -- could buckle in an earthquake, potentially trapping or killing fire fighters and destroying life-saving equipment.

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A subsequent study found trying to retrofit the station at 1444 7th Street would “reduce the functionality and its ability to meet” demands of its service area, which covers downtown and the northwestern portion of Santa Monica.

The new station, at 1337-45 7th Street, will be 27,000 square feet -- more than double the footage of the existing station.

Included are five apparatus bays and underground parking.

The top floor will have dorms for as many as 20 firefighters, a kitchen, fitness area, men’s and women’s restrooms and a public community room.

Those passing by have a view inside to fire engines and crews from four retractable glass bay doors on the first floor.

The new station’s total cost is pegged at $41.6 million.

The existing station will remain in operation until its replacement is completed, possibly in early 2020.

A staff report to the council noted that Bernards Bros. was not the lowest bidder, but “offered comprehensive knowledge and experience having previously successfully completed two fire station projects and a number of high profile and complex projects in Santa Monica, most notably at Santa Monica College (SMC).”

“Bernards Bros., Inc. demonstrated its understanding of the importance of site controls, cleanliness, and communication with the neighborhood, including at their SMC campus,” the report said.

About $6.5 million of the project’s total price tag will be funded with cash on hand.

The remainder will be financed with a lease revenue bond, the report said.

Staff will return to the council in May to seek approval for bond issuance.


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