Finding the land needed to build a new Aldie Fire-Rescue station has been a years-long challenge, but the project isn’t expected to get any easier as it moves to the construction phase.
Next month the Board of Supervisors is expected to award a $1.13 million contract to Hughes Group Architects to design the new 18,000-square-foot station that will replace the 1960s structure that is too small to accommodate modern equipment and lacks adequate space to house duty crews.
The project has been in the works for nearly a decade, but stalled in the site selection phase. The county first sought to build the new station along Rt. 50 east of the village, but neighborhood opposition and a court battle nixed that location. Last fall, the county purchased three lots around the existing station to assemble a 6.5-acre property.
Not only will the project designers be dealing with floodplain and sloping terrain, but also a portion of the property lies within the Aldie Historic and Cultural Conservation District and the station will be subject to architectural review.
The staff report presented to the Board of Supervisors’ finance committee last week recommended the project not be conducted under a design-build contract that has become typical for county projects with the goal of saving time and money. Instead, the county would issue a call for construction bids once the design is finalized.
“This Aldie Fire-Rescue Station is located in a unique historic area where it will be necessary to work directly with several neighborhood community and historic preservationist groups,” the report stated. “Gaining community support for the building desirable aesthetic characteristics is critical to the success of the project. Integrating these building features are difficult to prescribe within the performance standards used in the Design-Build delivery method as these characteristics evolve through interaction and consensus building.”
The county has already allocated $14.86 million for the project. The staff anticipates needing another $4 million when construction begins in fiscal year 2018, largely to pay for extensive site development costs and the construction of retaining walls.
The Hughes Group is the top ranked bidder from among seven companies that sought the contract.