Rivermont fire station moves forward

FRONT ROYAL – Work on a new home for the Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department moved forward Monday as officials talked  about the size and possible cost of the project.

The Warren County Building Committee discussed two options for a new Rivermont station on Stokes Airport Road near Rivermont Drive. A one-story option could cost an estimated $5.44 million. A two-story structure could cost roughly $6.07 million, according to information provided by the county. Both estimates include associated site-work costs. A one-story station would cover roughly 14,000 square feet, according to information from Moseley Architects. The two-story option would cover just over 16,000 square feet.

The type of foundation and structural components required for a one-story building compared to a two-story structure influences the cost for each option, General Services Director Brandy Rosser stated by email Monday.

The committee favored the one-story option. County officials, Department of Fire and Rescue Services employees, representatives from Moseley Architects and volunteers with the Rivermont station plan to meet next week to review options and provide feedback. County officials then plan to present the options to the Board of Supervisors who then can discuss their preference, Rosser said.

Construction could begin by early June if the county issues a notice to proceed to Moseley Architects within the next few weeks. Moseley Architects would then go through the design-bid process. A construction company could complete the project by early June 2019.

The county would likely seek financing for the station through New Market Tax Credits – a loan program through People Inc. and the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority that ultimately cuts the final cost of the project. Information provided by the county shows that the tax credit program would reduce the final cost of the one-story station option from $5.44 million to $3.81 million. County Administrator Doug Stanley explained that through the program the borrower buys credits and pays on only the interest for the first seven years. The county would propose to refinance the loan through a 30-year note, Stanley said. By selling the tax credits, the cost of the project comes down, Stanley added.

The town plans to finance the construction of a new police department headquarters through the program with the help of the EDA. The county is financing the cost of improvements to Ressie Jeffries Elementary School through the program and intends to take the same route with work planned for the General Registrar’s office. The town and county sent resolutions to the EDA last year that listed the projects each locality sought to fund through the tax credit program.

The Building Committee also talked about the progress of the county fire and rescue training facility. Department employees cleaned up and made improvements to the existing building for training and classroom space on the ESA Lane property off John Marshall Highway. The department used grant funding to pay for and complete upgrades to the buildings, Rosser said. The department is looking into options for a burn building it would use for training.