The Cortez Fire Protection District on Wednesday unanimously agreed to hire Weeminuche Construction Authority as project contractor for its new fire station.
Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde said during the board’s monthly meeting that Weeminuche wasn’t the lowest bidder, but the quality of its work was worth the price.
The station will be at the site of the current building on North Washington Street. The district plans to move out of the current fire station by April 20, and has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony for April 25.
“This is going to be a cornerstone building, something to be proud of,” Vandevoorde said.
He said the fact that WCA is based in Montezuma County and tends to hire locally swayed the board’s decision to pick it over the low bidder.
He said about 66 percent of Weeminuche subcontractors come from the region. The company has worked the second story of the current fire station, the Montezuma County jail and the remodel of the new Cortez City Hall. Vergil Gray, the building division manager, touted the jail project at the fire board meeting.
“There was no additional cost on that whole project,” he said.
Board member Rodney Branson jumped on that statement.
“You just basically went on record saying there’ll be no change orders on this project,” he said jokingly.
Gray quickly responded that he would make “no promises” about change orders in the project, budgeted at just over $4 million.
He said he plans to start the project as soon as Weeminuche gets a city demolition permit.
Funds for the fire station will come from a $2 million grant, a $1.2 million lease-purchase agreement and $1 million from the district’s tax revenue.
Administrative assistant Wendy Mimiaga said she expects it to be completed under budget, even though the contract was a bit more expensive than she had hoped.
The groundbreaking will be at the current fire station at 1 p.m. on April 25. It’s open to the public.