ALBANY, Ga. -- Move over Florida; you're not the only one with sinkhole issues.
The Albany City Commission tentatively approved almost $900,000 in funding Tuesday to build a replacement Fire Station 3 on Honeysuckle Drive. A new station is needed, according to Fire Chief James Carswell, because the current Station 3 at 501 Holley Drive was built on a sinkhole and has been gradually collapsing since it was completed in the mid-1980s.
"The station has sunk so far, windows have fallen out and walls are separating from the roof," Carswell said. "We've had to put plywood over windows, but our folks are still working out of that station."
Carswell said the current Station 3 was built on land that was donated, and engineers discovered the sinkhole during early sitework. Workers poured concrete in the "throat" of the sinkhole in an effort to shore it up, the fire chief added.
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard noted that the low bid for the new station came in $144,000 more than was budgeted and some $300,000 more than the cost to build the same building in 2005. Staff indicated that five of nine potential bidders had been eliminated for consideration on the project because of failure to prequalify as bidders by a specified date, leaving the city eventually with only two qualified bids. Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff asked if a rebid might be in order.
Albany architect Mack Wakeford, who is heading the project, advised the board to approve the $894,000 bid by Bainbridge's PDC Construction.
"I don't think you'll bring the project back to $750,000 with a rebid," Wakeford said. "It is my professional opinion that you should lock this price down. With the way construction costs are going all over the place now, it might end up costing more."
Central Services Director Stephen Collier told the board three separate bids on the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport's new terminal project, required because of stringent federal guidelines, had come in higher with each subsequent bid.