Supervisors discuss updates on fire station five, possible post office relocation

aluck@tidewaterreview.com

The construction of fire station five is coming along, and a new post office may be on its way to New Kent.

The board and county staff discussed construction updates of the new fire station on Route 106 and the consideration of relocating the post office at their Jan. 30 morning work session.

County administrator Rodney Hathaway and New Kent Fire-Rescue Fire Chief Rick Opett updated the board and requested additional money for the project.

The county signed a contract for $2,581,692 with Henderson Inc. last year to build the station; the total budget for the project is $2.8 million, according to Hathaway.

Hathaway said the builder replaced the property’s soil due to recent weather conditions.

“Henderson updated the existing soil for $28,751, as the soil had too much moisture and would not compact,” Hathaway said.

When Supervisor Thomas Evelyn asked why Henderson did not discuss it first, Hathaway explained it is because of the type of contract the county has with Henderson.

“We have a procurement contract with Henderson where they do the design and build work, where in other projects we would typically do a design,” he said. “They did not consult us. Their position is that they consulted the project consultant, but we have discussed and taken care of the change order process for the rest of the project.”

Hathaway said the wet weather likely would have stalled the project if Henderson had waited for the soil to dry.

Evelyn said the project is off to a disappointing start, and Chairman C. Thomas Tiller agreed.

Additional project costs, some planned and some due to unforeseen circumstances, include moving wiring for the overhead door controls to be next to the entrance and upgraded door finishes for $10,782.92, door locks, security and alarms for $45,965, furniture and fixings for the whole building for $183,280 and additional soil and concrete site testing for an unknown price, according to Hathaway.

“We also want to extend the hardiplank and brick exterior siding to both sides of the building instead of just the front to improve the appearance for $27,724.90,” Hathaway said.

The added items bring the project cost to $2,827,255.32, which exceeds the 281,308 contingency fund by $27,255.

Hathaway requested an additional $125,000 from the county’s Capital Fund — for a project budget of $2,952,255.32 — to cover the new items and restore the contingency fund.

Evelyn suggested the board receive monthly updates on the projects and made a motion to appropriate $100,000 for the project.

The appropriation of $100,000 was approved 3-2, with Tiller and Supervisor W.R. “Ray” Davis voting no. Bringing the project’s new budget to a total of $2,927,255.32 and the contingency fund to $72,745.

Opett said the project may get concrete slab groundwork laid in the next few days or week depending on weather conditions, and will hopefully have the building structure erected by the beginning of April.

Possible new post office

Richard Hancock, a real estate specialist with United States Postal Service, told the board the New Kent post office near the county complex is undersized for the amount of service it provides, and he suggested it be relocated.

“We are looking at new locations to double the size at 2,000 square feet,” Hancock said. “We want to be as close as possible to the existing post office, 2 miles away maximum.”

Supervisor Patricia Paige asked if the postal service had considered building a distribution center in the county for all of the mail carriers.

“The four other post office locations in the county are going to be in the same situation in a few years,” Paige said. “We want dependable mail system and service in the county.”

Hancock said upper-level management in the post office made the decision for a new location in the courthouse area already.

“Adding on to the existing location will be more expensive than building a new one,” Hancock said. “We are also looking in terms of long-term growth.”

The new post office would be built by the postal service, not the county, according to Hancock.

“We would like to have at least 17 parking spaces and a loading dock at the new location,” he said. “We are looking for it to be here for 50-plus years.”

Supervisor Ron Stiers said he is more concerned about the conditions of the Providence Forge post office.

Stiers said the heating at the location has been an issue recently and it’s not fair to employees.

“We’ve looked at space for a new post office there but haven’t had any luck or progress,” he said.

Hancock said the location landlord is responsible for maintenance, but that he will mention it to upper management in the post office district to look at.

The proposal to move the post office has a 30 day minimum comment period from residents, according to Hancock.

Hancock said the process is in the very early stages and he will work with the county to keep them updated and find a new location together.

Citizens can comment on the project proposal by sending a letter or email to Hancock. The 30-day comment period began Jan. 30 and will end March 1.

Write to Richard Hancock at P.O. Box 27494, Greensboro, N.C., 27498, or email richard.a.hancock2@usps.gov.

New Kent has a total of five post office locations; New Kent, Quinton, Providence Forge, Lanexa and Barhamsville.

The board then went into closed session to discuss the possible acquisition of property for a new elementary school.

Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, aluck@tidewaterreview.com or @ashleyrluck on Twitter

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