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Contract awarded to rebuild fire station that serves airport

The governing board for Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport has approved a contract that will give the city a new fire station within a year.

Members of the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority awarded a $4.17 million contract to rebuild Fire Station No. 2, located on Bishop Road on the north boundary of the airport's property. While the fire station is considered part of Lawton Fire Department and houses firefighters who respond to emergencies in south Lawton, it also houses the two-person crew that is dedicated to aviation-related emergencies at the airport.

Last week, the airport authority voted to accept a bid from Rich Construction to build a new fire station adjacent to the existing station, meaning firefighters will continue using the aging facility while a new station is built nearby. Airport authority action specified that the board was accepting Rich Construction's contract, with a "not to exceed" amount of $4,168,370. That is the company's original bid, but engineers will work with the company to do "value engineering" to determine if costs can be lowered, said Airport Director Barbara McNally.

"We need to sit down with Rich and proceed with that," McNally said, explaining the goal is to see what  if any  work in the construction project can be deferred or omitted to lower the total cost.

Lower cost is an issue because even the low bid came in greater than the $3,344,572 engineering estimate and that estimate is the figure upon which federal funding was based. The project is being funded via $2.4 million that was to be allocated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), along with $685,000 from the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission and $600,000 from the Comanche County Industrial Development Authority.

Last month, airport and city officials took the issue to the FAA and that entity had agreed to allow Lawton to defer a runway repair project and use some of those funds for the fire station, after a bidding cycle for the runway work failed to draw any construction firms.

But, McNally said late last week the FAA came up with additional discretionary funding that will allow the Lawton airport to fund the full fire station project, as well as a runway marking project that FAA inspectors have said is necessary. Authority members voted last week to give McNally permission to seek those grant funds.

The runway and taxiway marking project was to be included in an overall project to improve aviation pavement through a joint and crack sealing program, the airport's solution to damage on its runway and taxiways. That project failed to attract any bidders and McNally said the airport will let a new bid for firms interested in cleaning rubber off the runway (left by aircraft tires), then paint new markings on aviation pavement. She said that project soon will be let for bids, adding that the fading markings have been noted in the last two annual FAA inspections at the airport, including the one this summer. The pavement marking project has been estimated at $400,000 to $500,000.

The Lawton Constitution

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