Cost of planned new Roanoke fire station could increase

Architects designing new station asking for more money

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke's historic fire station No. 7 is still standing, but its fate has already been decided.

What hasn't been decided, is how much that fate will cost.

Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation trustee Alison Blanton and the rest of the foundation fought hard to keep the city from demolishing it, but that has proven expensive.

"I'm sorry that we had to go back and pay the architects more and ask the city to do that, but I feel strongly that should've been part of the process from the beginning," Blanton said.

Because of the foundation's desire to keep the building, the city had the architects hired to design a new station also come up with a possible plan for expanding the current building.

All of that work has taken longer than expected, so the architects are now asking for an additional $134,190.

The city's original contract with the architects called for the architects to be paid $493, 705.

"I hope that by forcing the city to go back and, unfortunately, spend extra money but go through that process will help them integrate that into their process earlier next time," Blanton said.

Roanoke city engineer Luke Pugh, who oversees the fire station project, says the city is using this project to help guide other projects, including the Wasena Bridge demolition.

"We're out doing stakeholder input, talking to businesses, talking to neighborhoods, doing presentations. Maybe that should've been done a little bit more for fire station 7," Pugh said.

As for why the historical importance of the building wasn't a big factor from the beginning, Pugh said the city didn't think there would be any concerns.

"We didn't hear a lot of concerns over it when we first entered into the negotiations with the engineer and architect," Pugh said.

The request for more money will be discussed at Tuesday's planning commission meeting.