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Local News

Santa Barbara Council Awards Contract for Fire Station No. 1 Building Project

The city selects Western Group Inc. despite a protest filed by a competing company

Overriding a protest filed by the second-lowest bidder, the Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday awarded the Fire Station No. 1 administrative office building project bid to Western Group Inc. for $1,899,874.

Melchiori Construction alleged that Western Group had inadequate licensing and not enough subcontractors listed for the work, but city staff investigated the claims and recommended that the council approve the winning bid, which they did.

In a letter to the City Council, Mark Melchiori said his company considered filing legal action against the city, but in the interest of moving forward with the project, it instead will closely monitor the project.

To address the tricky issue of renovating the police station or building a new one, a subcommittee was formed to discuss the options for construction and for funding.

What was supposed to be a remodel of the locker room “spiraled out of control,” community development director Paul Casey said. The West Carrillo Street building has deficiencies in its HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, in addition to poor accessibility for disabled people, lead and asbestos issues, a bad roof and the need for seismic retrofitting.

It was discovered that even that small renovation could lead to a necessary $25 million renovation, Casey said, so a subcommittee will discuss rebuilding on the current site or elsewhere and how to fund a project of that magnitude. He said there are no Redevelopment Agency or General Fund capital funds available for a project that size.

Councilmen Randy Rowse and Bendy White, and Councilwoman Michael Self will serve on the subcommittee.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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