Note: This story was updated at 10 a.m. May 15.
The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday authorized about $500,000 in renovations at Fire Station 4 at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site, a federal site in west Oak Ridge.
The funds for the renovations are currently available in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget for the West End Fire Fund, Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley said in an April 27 memo to City Manager Mark Watson.
The total estimated cost of the renovations, based on a sealed bid process, is not to exceed $515,000, Kerley said. He said funds have been set aside for the past 11 years.
The project was unanimously approved in a 7-0 vote after a brief discussion at the City Council meeting on Monday.
The funds are part of the overall re-industrialization that will convert the ETTP fire station from a U.S. Department of Energy fire station to a municipal fire station through a DOE memorandum of agreement for the operation and maintenance of the fire station.
DOE transferred the 25,000-square-foot fire station and the 2.2-acre ETTP site to the city about a decade ago, Oak Ridge Today reported in August. The city and DOE have a renewable, four-year memorandum of agreement that first started in the mid-2000s. DOE provides just over $2 million per year, and the city provides services at ETTP and in support of the other two DOE sites in town when needed, Kerley said then.
“Since the transition of Fire Station 4 (Building K-1652) in 2007, the department has been planning to move from the temporary bunkhouse trailers installed to the east of the fire station into the main building by 2019,” Kerley told Watson in the April 27 memo. “This schedule also coincides with the re-industrialization schedule for the ETTP site. The security guards have now been relocated out of the facility, and work has begun on the history center renovations on the second floor of the building. The renovations of the fire station should be coordinated with the renovations to the first floor…due to the separation of the utilities and HVAC (heat and air conditioning) systems.”
The work required to convert the first floor into a 24-hour per day staffed fire station includes the following, Kerley said:
- The office space must be converted to residential living quarters as required by code.
- The failing HVAC has already been placed out of service due to system failures and must be replaced on the first floor.
- The History Center will have a separate HVAC system on the roof.
- The electrical service and breaker panels must be rewired to separate the two floors, along with splitting the main service centers coming into the building.
- A new water supply system will be installed, replacing the leaking galvanized pipe.
- New shower stalls and drains for the laundry room equipment will also be installed per code.
- Fire rated drop ceiling, new tile floors, and new carpet, along with repairing exit doors and emergency lighting, will be included.
- A new gas heating system will be added to the truck bay to replace the out-of-service boiler system.
- Oak Ridge Utility District will be separating the natural gas service and running new service to both areas of the building, the History Center and Fire Station.
The work should start by June 1 and conclude by October 15, Kerley said.
The city received one bid, a $544,800 bid, for the project from Wright Contracting Inc. of Knoxville and negotiated a $78,970 reduction. The bid included a $50,000 contingency amount, according to the City Council resolution to be considered Monday.
The value of the award to Wright Contracting could be $465,830, and the Council was asked to consider up to $49,170 in additional funds to cover unforeseen expenditures.
Built during World War II, ETTP was once known as K-25 and used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear power plants. But those operations shut down in the mid-1980s, and the site is being cleaned up and converted into a large industrial park.
The City Council meeting started at 7 p.m. Monday, May 14, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom at 200 South Tulane Avenue. You can see the agenda here.
You can learn more about the K-25 History Center on the second floor of the Fire Station and the K-25 site itself in this story from October.
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