Fairfax gearing up for new fire station, transit center in Tysons

Fairfax County officials plan to build Tysons Fire Station No. 29 and a new bus-transit facility at 8300 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons.

The Board of Supervisors on Dec. 1 approved a request by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services to use a specialized procurement method for the upcoming construction of Tysons Fire Station No. 29 and its associated bus-transit facility.

Public-works officials want to use the Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) procurement method for both the project’s pre-construction and construction phases.

The project will be built at 8300 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons, just southeast of the intersection of Spring Hill Road and the Dulles Toll Access Road. The initiative will include a new, 20,000-square-foot fire station with five bays and a seven-bay bus-transit facility, plus related site work and roadway upgrades. About $15 million of the project’s $20 million cost will go toward construction.

Usually, projects must cost at least $26 million (the new threshold set this year by the General Assembly, up from the previous $10 million) to qualify for that procurement method, but the Tysons endeavor could qualify with authorization from the Board of Supervisors.

In addition to obtaining supervisors’ approval, officials had to prove the project was complex in nature. A staff report pointed to the shared use being planned for the site and the intricate phasing that will be required to build the fire station while continuing operations at the existing transit facility.

The project will require installation of complex fire-station infrastructure and systems, including a Plymovent diesel-exhaust-extraction system, a Westnet first-alert public-safety-notification system, full emergency-power backup equipment, vehicle apparatus bays located adjacent to fire-and-rescue personnel’s living quarters and a preemptive traffic-signal system.

Additionally, the county government is developing the project to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, with energy efficiency improved by 30 percent. The building also will be constructed in a way that could accommodate future installation of solar panels.

Officials will coordinate the project with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, which plans in the future to build an access ramp through the project site between the toll road and Jones Branch Drive.

CMAR is advantageous because it allows the contractor to be involved with developing the complex phasing plan for the project’s construction.

“Having the contractor on board during the design will identify those challenges and provide solutions to minimize the disruption to the services the facility provides,” county staff wrote in a summary given to supervisors.

The CMAR method also allows the contractor to conduct ongoing cost validations, plus value engineering and construction reviews, which would keep the project within its cost estimate and reduce the number of change orders.

Using CMAR obviates the need for the usual three-month-long bidding process after completion of the project’s design, county officials said. If officials determine that the maximum price under this procurement method is too high, they also have the option of moving forward with the traditional design-bid-build process, the staff’s summary read.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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