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McHenry Township Fire Protection District considers hiring consultant

McHENRY – Nearly 18 months after the proposed expansion of the Elm Street fire station was put on hold, the district is taking a step backward.

The McHenry Township Fire Protection District will issue a request for qualifications from firms that could put together a comprehensive, districtwide strategic facilities plan, its board of trustees decided Thursday evening.

The consultant – if the district’s board decides to hire one after receiving the qualifications – would assess the district’s space needs and put together a game plan to make sure what happened with the district’s main station doesn’t happen again, Chief Tony Huemann said.

The board had put the expansion on hold after bids for the construction of a 4,700-square-foot expansion of administrative offices at the main station, 3601 W. Elm St. in McHenry, came in $2 million over the estimates.

The lowest bid was $4.4 million, compared with the $2.4 million to $2.8 million the district expected.

The district already had spent more than $1 million to buy neighboring land for parking lots, to demolish the buildings there and to cover architecture expenses.

“Rather than just moving forward with just doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, let’s figure out what our space needs are,” Huemann said. “Let’s come up with a comprehensive plan before we start spending any money.”

Firms will have until Friday to submit their qualifications, Huemann said, adding that the timeline is tight so the strategic facilities plan can be done before the district does its annual budgeting.

A request for qualifications means that firms will not include cost estimates in their submissions, but Huemann said it will get cost proposals from more than one firm, something the law doesn’t require it to do.

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