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Construction will start on fire station

Construction should begin soon on Lawton's second new fire station.

The governing board for Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport has approved a change order for the construction project that will build a new Fire Station No. 2 in south Lawton.

While the station on the northern edge of the airport is part of the Lawton Fire Department and serves the needs of south Lawton, it also houses the specially trained firefighters who are dedicated to aviation emergencies at Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport. The existing fire station at Bishop and Southwest 17th Street, built with federal aviation funds in the 1970s, has structural problems, and airport and City of Lawton officials have been working for more than a year to replace it.

Federal, state and local funding made that possible and the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority voted in September to accept a $4.198 million bid from Rich Construction, designating that firm as the contractor.

But airport officials also wanted to trim the cost of a project that was more expensive than funding initially designated for the work. That came through "value engineering," a process that directed airport and fire officials, the contractor and the design engineer to look at construction details to determine if some things could be deleted.

Ward 1 Councilman Robert Morford, who chairs the airport authority's development committee, said the process identified $223,000 worth of work that could be deleted from the construction contract, taking the total price down to $3.975 million.

Airport Director Barbara McNally said the reductions were things Lawton fire officials said they could live without, including changes to the station's facade and its mechanical system (specifically, lighting), as well as a plan to reduce the amount of paving around the outside of the building.

Last week, airport authority members agreed to the change order that allowed the airport to issue its notice to proceed. McNally said construction should begin soon.

Those saved funds already are spoken for. McNally said they will be put with funding already available to the airport, giving it $500,000 toward the cost of a runway and taxiway re-painting project that will be let for bids in February.

That pavement marking had been part of a larger project to seal joints and cracks on the airport runway, but while the fire station drew bidders in 2017, the runway project did not. Because no one bid, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowed the airport to apply some of those runway/taxiway funds to the fire station project so that project could begin this year. While the crack/joint sealing project is set for the next fiscal year, McNally said the pavement marking must be done before the airport's next certification inspection because inspections in the last two years have cited the fading paint as inadequate.

The Lawton Constitution

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