Story & Photos by Ralph Nichols
The new headquarters station for King County Fire District No. 2 – the Burien-Normandy Park Fire Department’s – is expected to get a certificate of occupancy in late October or early November.
But Fire Chief Mike Marrs told The B-Town Blog this week that no date will be set for a ribbon cutting until they know when the new station – at 900 SW 146th Street in Burien – will become operational.
Construction was originally expected to be completed and the station opened by early August – just over a year after its groundbreaking in 2011.
As the result of “several miscommunications from Seattle City Light,” however, “we’re not on time,” Marrs said. “We’re about two months behind schedule.
“The project manager and the fire district did everything we were instructed to do by City Light,” but problems still occurred, causing this delay.
“We may have to dip into our contingency fund” to cover resulting cost overruns “but that’s what it’s there for,” Marrs added. That will have only “a marginal impact – not huge, maybe $100,000 to $200,000 – on this $9 million project. That’s well within our contingency fund.”
He said the fire district “made all changes requested and then they made more changes.” City Light moved the location of its electric meter, put two different manhole vaults underground, “then changed the size of the vaults and then changed the size of wires in the vaults.”
The delay caused by problems with City Light “had compounding effects on all electrical issues” with the project, Marrs continued. “Without power the electrician couldn’t finish his work.
“Until that was done, the heating and ventilation system couldn’t go in, and they couldn’t test out all the other electrical equipment.”
Marrs said the fire district is expected to look at the possibility of filing at least a partial claim for the impacts caused by City Light.
“Even with the delay, we’re still very happy with the construction and the results,” he stated.
In the meantime, construction of the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department’s Manhattan station got underway in mid-September and is on schedule so far.
Ground was broken for that station at 135 S. Normandy Park Rd. June 28.
Voters in Fire District No. 2 approved in November 2008 a $25 million bond issue for construction of the new headquarters fire station in Burien and replacement of Station 29.