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Strongsville is taking a new approach to building the fifth fire station on Ohio 82

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – The city will take a different approach to construction as it builds a fifth fire station on Ohio 82, just west of Pearl Road.

Instead of soliciting quotes from several construction companies and choosing the best and usually lowest bid, the city will hire a “construction manager at risk” who will calculate a “guaranteed maximum price” or GMP for the job.

Under such an arrangement, if the final project cost exceeds the GMP, the construction manager would be responsible for the overrun – unless the City decides to expand the scope of work, in which case the City would pay.

If the project ultimately costs less than the GMP, the savings would return to the city.

The city has never used this approach before.

“It’s a method used by many other local governments and school districts and we thought this would be a good opportunity for us to use it,” Legal Director Neal Jameson told cleveland.com. “It’s more efficient and will save us money in the long run.”

Strongsville Schools used the construction-manager-at-risk and GMP methods when building Strongsville Middle School on Pearl Road. The school opened in 2016.

In May, the city hired attorney Matthew Sagone and his Columbus law firm, Squire Patton Boggs LLP, to assist in the at-risk construction manager’s lawsuit. The company charges $475 per hour.

Sagone and the law firm’s services include helping the city select an architect and build risk management, negotiating contracts with those firms and preparing and drafting a GMP agreement.

Sagone and the law firm will also provide legal advice on issues arising during construction and prepare the necessary legislation and legal documents related to the GMP process.

Also in May, the City Council authorized the mayor to request proposals and qualifications from architects for the fire station project.

Jamison told cleveland.com on Monday that nine architectural firms have submitted proposals. He said the government will limit the number of candidates to three before selecting one to present to the council, “hopefully this summer.”

Finance Director Eric Dean said the city is expected to use borrowed money to pay for the construction of the fire station. However, it is still unclear how the city will cover ongoing annual personnel costs.

In November, Strongsville voters rezoned three adjacent parcels on the south side of Ohio 82, just west of Pearl, from a residential district — where public buildings would not be allowed — to a public facilities district, where a fire station would be Allowed.

The city purchased two of the three parcels in September for $285,000 and purchased the third parcel in November for $137,500.

The three lots are next to the three lots that the city previously purchased for a possible fifth fire station.

Last November, voters rezoned the first three parcels from residential to public facilities.

The six plots together measure approximately 2.5 hectares. They are adjacent to the Ganley Buick GMC parking lot at the southwest corner of Ohio 82 and Pearl.

Two of the six plots currently have homes.

The city acquired the first three parcels in June through a land swap with the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber gave the land to the city in exchange for a city-owned half-acre parcel – where the chamber office now stands – on the south side of Royalton, just east of Pearl.

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