ZEPHYRHILLS — Renovation work on the Sixth Avenue Fire Station is back on track after the City Council approved change orders totaling $250,000 during a special meeting Tuesday.
Pillar Construction had initially put the cost of the changes at nearly $269,000, but project manager Kevin Boutros agreed to the lower figure. The completion date was also extended to Jan. 30.
Frustration over cost overruns and delays in the work prompted council members to meet in a special session to consider terminating the project's architect and construction firm. Pillar Construction's attorney, Rosemary Hayes, told the council that unforeseen issues related to pre-existing mistakes in the building's original construction and previous renovations are the reason for the additional costs.
The council approved the project in 2012 with a budget of more than $1 million — with $750,000 coming from a community development block grant, $342,300 from Penny for Pasco sales tax revenues and the remainder from the city's utility fund.
The project initially called for replacing a retaining wall, adding a parking lot and new sidewalk, removing the metal tower, adding a new entrance and an emergency generator, and updating the interior to meet current codes. Architect Leo Arroyo told the council in May that workers had discovered several hidden problems — such as walls with no reinforcement — after starting demolition work.
Council members have asked why a wall scan was not done at the beginning of the project, when representatives were coming up with their cost estimates. Arroyo did not attend Tuesday's meeting.