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Published: 6/11/2010

Paratransit site contracts OK'd

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

More than $7.5 million in construction contracts have been awarded to companies to build a headquarters for the paratransit operations of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.

The contracts, approved yesterday by the agency's board of trustees, were awarded to a Farmington Hills, Mich., contractor and four Toledo-area firms.

A $4,949,800 bid from The Garrison Co. was the lowest of seven TARTA received for the general contracting portion of the project.

The second-largest contract went to Brint Electric Inc., of Toledo, for $1,186,800 to do electrical work. Smaller contracts were awarded for plumbing, climate control, and fire protection.

The 80,000-square-foot building is to go up on the site of the former Page Dairy at Wade and Williams streets, just south of downtown Toledo, and will be paid primarily with federal grants. It will house offices and maintenance facilities for the Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service plus a biodiesel fueling center available to public-fleet vehicles, if not the general public.

"We've been after this thing for a very long time, but it has been a protracted process, primarily for financial reasons," Francis Frey, a transit authority trustee, said after the contract vote. "I couldn't be more pleased with all the environmentally appropriate features that have been incorporated into the design."

Those "green" features, Sylvania architect Craig Stough said, include a geothermal heating and cooling system for which 40 wells will be drilled in an adjoining parking lot and an "earth-sheltered" building design for which 40,000 cubic yards of soil will be dug out of a slope on the property.

The vehicle garage will have skylights, while the roof will have a white reflective surface and a solar-panel array.

Construction is scheduled to take about a year to complete.

TARPS provides door-to-door service for eligible riders whose disabilities preclude their use of regular TARTA bus service. Ridership has increased rapidly during recent years, including a 35 percent increase last year.

Besides the contracts for general contracting and electrical work, the transit authority trustees yesterday awarded a $940,900 climate-control contract to Industrial Power Systems, Inc., of Maumee; a $403,062 plumbing contract to Hanning USU, Inc., of Toledo, and an $82,745 fire-protection contract to Accel Fire Systems, Inc., of Sylvania.

Mr. Stough said the combined $7,563,307 was 5 percent below a project cost estimate from 2008. But he also said the project's budget retains a 5 percent contingency, primarily against soil problems at the former dairy property.

When the dairy was demolished during the mid-1990s, Mr. Stough said, its exterior walls were pushed into its basement cavity and the whole thing was covered with earth.

While test drilling is believed to have gone deeper than that subsurface debris, the only way to know conditions for sure is to dig it all up, he said.

Contact David Patch at:

dpatch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6094.



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