March 26, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
Construction for Orion Township's new Fire Station 2 will begin in May after the thaw on a parcel of land given to the township.
The board approved the Dailey Company for construction services at the last township board meeting, costing the township about $1.8 million to build the new site north of Silverbell Rd. and east of Giddings Rd.
Township officials, including Supervisor Chris Barnett, Fire Chief Bob Smith, Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Stout and the township's architect recommended the Dailey Company for the most cost efficient bid.
Five different construction companies were qualified for the job, and proposed bids ranging from $1.8 million to $2.2 million, with the Dailey Company being the lowest at $1.8 million.
The station itself is basically identical to Station 3 on Gregory Rd. in size and shape. The main difference would be the pitch in roof; Station 3 mirrors the residential houses around it, but Station 2 will have a flat roof to match the industrial businesses of the location, such as the Orion Assembly Plant and Powers Distributing.
"The fire chief and I looked at where all our paid on call firefighters from Station 2 come from, and this site is a good, central location," Barnett said. "It's close to the Orion Plant, which is Orion's biggest business, so there are a lot of advantages to the site."
Another "green" advantage Barnett mentioned is the township's plan to connect the new fire station to Eagle Valley Landfill's methane gas to heat the building.
This savings could measure close to $3,000 a month, the price it costs to heat Station 4 on Baldwin, which is also similar in size to the future Station 2.
One of the caveats the township faced in applying for bids was the requirement to occupy the new fire station by December 31 of this year when the $0 lease for Station 2, currently owned by Tony Battaglia, expires.
Battaglia is the owner and developer of the Palazzo Di Bocce on M-24, and now owns Station 2 after the previous township board traded the fire hall and surrounding parcel for his stretch of land on Bald Mountain Rd. originally thought suitable to build a fire hall on.
Battaglia was not available for comment before the Review went to press.
Orion Township Fire Chief Smith said it was not their goal to purchase a new piece of property. Initially the objective was to update and modernize the current building, which would have required additional land, but the developer was not in the position to sell more property.
So that's where the trade came in.
"At the time it sounded good, looked good, but then when we started putting the pencil to it, we figured out it cost more than we initially anticipated," Chief Smith said.
The new site has all the essentials.
"It's all high ground, it's on a paved road. It's a much bigger piece of property than what we were looking at. And we won't have to deal with any mitigation with the wetlands. And there is a little room there maybe to expand to build a training tower in the future," he said.
Orion Township is divided into four fire-house quadrants. At present, quadrant one located in the village is the busiest station. However, Chief Smith anticipates Fire Station 2 to take the lead.
"They're always looking to add more industrial down there and with the 747 homes slated to be built down there, that's probably going to be the busiest quadrant in the next five years," he said.
Waste Management sold the township the land on Giddings road for the new station for $3,000, the cost to cover the title work.
"Waste Management has always been a great partner of Orion Township because they are so great to the community," Barnett said.
The township looked at five different sites along the Silverbell corridor last year, most which were too costly. One site was on Bald Mountain Rd. and required 60 feet of paving, costing up to $100,000. Wetlands prevented construction on other sites.