Costa Mesa officials set to approve $3.5M contract for fire training facility upgrades

A training tower at Costa Mesa's Fire Station No. 4 will be torn down and rebuilt.
A training tower at Costa Mesa’s Fire Station No. 4, built in 1966, will be torn down and rebuilt with help from $2.5 million in state funding secured by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) in 2022.
(File Photo)

After receiving $2.5 million from the state in 2022 to help renovate a 57-year-old fire training facility, Costa Mesa is finally ready to get to work, even though more funding will be needed to complete the project.

Costa Mesa City Council members are poised Tuesday to approve a $3.5-million public works agreement with Stanton-based construction company Caliba, Inc. to begin work, after receiving bids in February.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, in conjunction with the office of state Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), earmarked $2.5 million in the state’s 2021-22 budget to allow Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue to upgrade the existing training tower facility at Fire Station No. 4 on Placentia Avenue


Caliba was determined to be the lowest bidder at $3,486,000 after another company, Global Builders, Inc. of Los Angeles, withdrew a lower bid for unspecified reasons, according to a staff report for Tuesday’s meeting. Caliba’s bid was estimated to be 63% higher than an engineer’s estimate of $2.14 million, due to a rise in construction costs, the report indicated.

A third bidder, Costa Mesa-based Kazoni Construction, submitted a quote for $7.103 million and later protested the less expensive bidders, claiming the two firms failed to meet certain requirements from the city, did not provide contractor names and presented “troubling” bid spreads. However, a city attorney advised the firm’s protest was without merit, and it was rejected.

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) presented a check Friday to help rebuild and expand a 55-year-old Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue training center into a state-of-the-art regional facility.

June 3, 2022

Authorizing City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison to execute the agreement with Caliba will allow for the initial phases of the renovation project — the purchase and installation of a prefabricated tower on the training grounds and the demolition of an existing tower and grading work on the property.

Additional work proposed for Fire Station No. 4 include a structure with restrooms and showers, a water recirculation system that will allow for the recovery of water used during training exercises and the installation of a carport with solar panels, along with smaller miscellaneous projects not specified in the city’s report.

The council’s vote Tuesday will also authorize Farrell Harrison to enter into a $347,241 professional services agreement with Los Angeles firm STV, Inc. for construction management and support services associated with the project and to potentially seek a bond or other avenues to close the $1.5 million funding gap that remains.

Speaking in an interview in June 2002, Costa Mesa Fire Chief Dan Stefano said the renovations could potentially allow fire agencies to cross-train with members of law enforcement.

“The goal of this facility is, as we rebuild, to have a high-technology, upgraded facility that allows for training in the safest manner possible, taking into consideration environmental concerns and providing an opportunity for our regional partners to join,” Stefano said.

The training center upgrades are subject to the city’s Community Workforce Agreement, which includes a 35% local hire provision prioritizing employees who live in, or graduated from, Costa Mesa as well as veterans, graduates of an authorized apprenticeship training program and Orange County residents at large. The City Council in March 2023 awarded a Professional Services Agreement (PSA) to the Pasadena-based Solís Group to administer compliance with that program.

Also Tuesday, the City Council is scheduled to:

Give a second reading to an ordinance establishing affordable housing requirements for new residential development projects and adopt a fee resolution creating an in-lieu fee schedule to accompany the regulations.

Introduce in a first reading a draft ordinance modifying portions of city retail cannabis laws adopted in 2021, continuing a discussion from a March 19 council meeting.

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. in Costa Mesa City Hall’s Council Chambers, 77 Fair Drive.