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Weather slows construction of Rolling Meadows fire station.

Byline: Christopher Placek

The wintry weather has slowed construction of Rolling Meadows' new Algonquin Road fire station, now scheduled for completion a year from now.

And though the city council voted 5-2 Tuesday night on a change order formalizing that arrangement with builder R.C. Wegman Construction Co., those who have been critical of the fire stations relocation project expressed frustration with the delays.

That included Mayor Len Prejna, who doesn't get a vote but suggested to aldermen that he could wield his veto pen if they didn't have a veto-proof majority of five votes. Wegman's requested change order calls for substantial completion of the new Station 15 at 3201 Algonquin Road by Nov. 1, 2019, and final completion by Dec. 1, 2019.

"A month ago, they said on the timeline it would be done in July," Prejna said. "I believe that's the way it should be done."

Prejna campaigned for mayor two years ago on a platform of only replacing one fire station -- not both -- but hasn't had the votes, and he hasn't issued any vetoes when fire station approvals have come before the council. Now he faces a crowded field trying to replace him: Alderman Joe Gallo, perhaps the harshest critic of the fire station plans; Alderman John D'Astice, who has supported the relocation effort; and Dave Whitney, vice chairman of the city's planning and zoning commission.

Gallo, one of two "no" votes on the change order with Nick Budmats, said Tuesday that Wegman should be held accountable to the initial schedule approved with the $5.8 million construction contract in September.

"In September we were asked to hurry up and make a decision, only to now be asked to pause. I asked why we were being rushed and hurried, only to do it in inclement weather," said Gallo, who suggested it would have been good to break ground in the spring.

Representatives of Wegman weren't at the council meeting Tuesday, but at a Nov. 20 committee meeting, the firm's senior consultant Terry Bohr told aldermen the early onset of cold weather in November prevented load-bearing masonry walls from being installed. Still, the contractor plans to do underground stormwater work over the winter, Bohr said.

Alderman Rob Williams, who joined other four other aldermen in accepting the change order, said he'd rather see the project delayed and done properly than being sped up, which might not prove beneficial to the city in the long run.

Alderman Mike Cannon said the change order vote made little difference, since there isn't a late penalty in Wegman's contract.

City Attorney Jim Macholl said such a penalty was suggested in early negotiations, but Wegman countered that it should be paid extra if the job were completed early.

Meanwhile, the public bid opening for the new Station 16 at 2340 Hicks Road is scheduled for 2 p.m. today. The council could consider a construction contract in late January.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Dec 19, 2018
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