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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

University, Otis Orchards fire stations will get facelifts

Two of the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s oldest stations will be upgraded and remodeled under a $1.37 million contract.

They are the University Fire Station, which was built in 1976 and used to serve as the department’s headquarters, and the Otis Orchards Station, which was built in 1984. Among the major improvements will be addition of separate sleeping quarters and other facilities to accommodate fire crew consisting of both genders.

“These are older buildings,” said Deputy Fire Chief Larry Rider. “They were put into service a long time ago.”

Six companies bid for the work and the department’s fire commissioners on Monday selected Blew’s Construction, which submitted the second-lowest bid. The lowest bidder, Bouten Construction, was $152,000 less but the company withdrew last week before the final selection was made.

Rider said it’s a complex project and he suspects Bouten may have overlooked some of the requirements when putting together its bid, which would explain its significantly lower amount. “We received a letter from them the day after the bids were opened asking to withdraw and we were fine with that,” he said, noting that the fire district staff generally meets with all bidders to discuss the project and review the responsiveness of their bids before making a recommendation to the district’s board of commissioners on which one to accept.

The upgrades are being paid for with existing district reserve funds.

In addition to updated sleeping quarters, the University station will get an upgraded fire sprinkler system, emergency lighting with a generator backup and other improvements. The work at the Otis Orchards station will be similar but less extensive and includes addition of a workout room.

The other bidders were: Darden Enterprises, $1.39 million; Meridian Construction and Western States Construction, both at about $1.5 million; and Kilgore Construction, $1.54 million.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department was created in 1940 and serves much of the Valley, including Liberty Lake and Millwood. It now has 165 firefighters and 10 stations spread throughout its 75-square-mile service area, which extends east to the Idaho state line.