Almost two years ago, The City of Kingfisher passed a penny sales tax to build a new fire station. The City submitted an RFQ (request for quote) for an architect to take on the job. At the time, the project budget was approximately $7.5 million to $8.5 million. After reviewing all the bids from architectural firms, the City entered into a contract with MA+ Architecture.
Following this selection, it was discovered that the numbers given for the cost were about six years old. At that time, the price per square foot of a building was about $300, and due to COVID and supply chain issues, it is now approximately $500+ a square foot. When factoring in inflation, it was estimated that the actual cost would be around $10 million for the new station. After many discussions and debates, the City voted in favor of this amount on July 10th and approved 20,000 square feet for the project.
When the new City Manager, Jim Thomas, took his role, he sat down with Fire Chief Tony Stewart, City Clerk Brittney Hladik, and the architects from MA+. Chief Stewart had raised concerns about the firm’s limited experience building fire stations, and he knew there were others around with a lot more experience. In a Special City Commissioner’s meeting on August 21st, the Commissioners voted to terminate the contract with MA+ and submit another RFQ with the updated budget and square footage. Thomas stated that MA+ Architecture’s inexperience with fire stations and unwillingness to negotiate rates is what ultimately led to this decision. Chief Stewart revealed to the Commission that since MA+ is not experienced with fire stations, they bring in another architect to consult, and that would be an additional cost when they could find an architect firm that has experience.
Changing architecture firms may seem like a step back in the process of building a new fire station, but ultimately it will be more beneficial. Chief Stewart stated, “We’ve waited this long, so we don’t mind waiting a bit longer to ensure it’s done right.”