FAIRMONT — A bid opening for the City of Fairmont’s new East Side Fire station project will take place next month.

City manager Valerie Means made the announcement during her report at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

She said the request for bids was posted on the city website Tuesday.

“We have a bid opening on that scheduled for March 18,” she said. “We’re looking forward to opening those bids, and I know the chief and his team have done many, many hours, maybe a few years, of hard work on getting this going, so very happy about that.”

The new station will replace the current station, which is out of date.

Previously, architect Adam Rohaly, with Omni Associates — Architects of Fairmont, unveiled a rendering of the new station last year. He said it incorporates tumbled brick and features a tower element that “kind of calls some attention to the more civic use” of the future building.

He described the tower element and the entire building as “a little bit more modern,” with “basic traditional building elements used in a little bit modern way.”

The rendering features two stories, two apparatus bays, a lobby and entrance area, kitchen space, day room for the firefighters, apparatus space support, bunks and a fitness area and laundry and bathroom facilities, he said.

After the meeting, Means was enthusiastic about the project moving forward.

“Anytime we get a new facility, especially something that supports our fire or our public safety departments, that’s always a wonderful thing for the community,” she said.

She said it was hard to tell whether a lot of bids would be received, but she thought it would get attention.

“I would imagine there would be quite a lot of interest in it because it’s not everyday that the city builds a new facility,” she said.

Mayor Brad Merrifield was also happy that the project was moving ahead.

He said it was a big step.

“Those guys have been working on that so long,” he said.

He also spoke about the need to replace the old East Side Fire Station.

“It looks decent on the outside, but not on the inside,” he said.

He hoped that a lot of “serious” bids would be received.

In other business, Means said a balanced general fund city budget of $17,485,224 for fiscal year 2021 has been drafted.

She said she “was happy to report” the news.

“That has been submitted to you for your review,” she told council members.

The first public session to begin reviewing the budget will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 18 in the fire training room of the public safety building.

“Thank you to department heads and the finance department especially, our finance department, for several weeks, months, really, of hard work to be able to bring you a balanced budget,” she said.

When asked for comment, Means said it doesn’t raise taxes. No other information about the spending plan was available at this time. She said the information will be discussed at the Feb. 18 session to review the budget.

Also, Means reported that the city’s building demolition program is moving along.

She said the demolition contractor has completed eight of 14 buildings in the clean-up of blighted properties.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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