The estimated cost of building a third Madison Township fire station has now risen to almost $4 million but there is no start date yet for a project that was originally supposed to begin in March.

Trustees have yet to reach a final agreement with Turner Construction; representatives from the company said during a special meeting two weeks ago that the guaranteed maximum price to design and build Station 183 at 3232 Noe Bixby Road had increased by $400,000 from $3.5 million to $3.9 million.

"If we were on the original schedule, we would've broken ground in March," Fire Chief Robert Bates said.

"We've just had issue after issue that has arisen. If we were on the original timeframe ... we would've hit that $3.5 million estimate."

Township voters approved a 3.25-mill operating levy in May 2015 to help build a third station and get a third medic unit in service.

The township is borrowing roughly $2.5 million to construct the station, but expects to pay $1 million this year.

While no construction date has been set, trustees got their first look at bids submitted by contractors for concrete, HVAC, plumbing and other work.

Bids for concrete came in under the projected budget, however, work for HVAC and plumbing was higher than expected, according to Bates.

"Construction season has hit, and there are so many projects in the market," he said. "Turner is working to get those costs down."

Trustee John Kershner, who remains critical of project expenses, said the estimated cost of the roofing membrane, which separates aluminum from steel, was $9,000. The bid came in at $30,000.

Kershner, unlike trustees Ed Dildine Sr. and Victor Paini, would like to see the township seek new estimates from other companies for a design-build agreement.

The township currently has two fire stations -- Station 181 at 4567 Firehouse Lane in Groveport and Station 182 at 6600 Gender Road in Canal Winchester.

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