Bad soil, extra features lead to higher costs for proposed Johns Island fire station

A planned fire station along Maybank Highway will cost millions more than originally planned, but the City of Charleston says it’s moving forward with it.
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:58 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 9:48 PM EST
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JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A planned fire station along Maybank Highway will cost millions more than originally planned, but the City of Charleston says it’s moving forward with it.

Charleston city officials said the cost estimates to build the new fire station along Maybank Highway near Wildts Battery Boulevard have increased by around $6 million.

Part of that cost has to do with the soil found on the site. The city said the soil samples they’ve gotten show they need to add pilings underneath the building’s foundation to support it in case of an earthquake.

Along with the poor soil conditions, the city said extra features added to the proposed building and increased construction costs have all contributed to the higher price tag.

Director of Parks and Capital Projects Jason Kronsberg said when the city bought the land in March 2021, they did not do any soil work because they did not have the money set aside for the project yet.

Money was set aside earlier this year through bonds, but Kronsberg said it took several months to get a design team on board and get a contract through council to start work.

The fire station is scheduled to have three bays that would fit two companies, but extra features could be cut to keep costs down.

“We’re going to continue to work with the construction manager at risk, the design team and determine what other cost saving features that we can implement to kind of bring that price down,” Kronsberg said. “Right now, the cost of doing business in the world of construction and the labor market is challenging.”

Kronsberg said barring any unforeseen circumstances, construction could start at the end of 2023 or the start of 2024.