Local contractors and architects don't want to be cut out of the bidding on $32 million in new police and fire buildings in Medford.

Local contractors and architects don't want to be cut out of the bidding on $32 million in new police and fire buildings in Medford.

"Please keep the projects local," Tom Hall, of S&B James Construction Management of White City, said Thursday night to the City Council.

Hall urged the council to hire multiple contractors and architects to build a new police headquarters and three new fire stations rather than one contractor and one architect to run all the projects, which had been recommended by city staff members.

The council asked staff members to return in a couple of weeks to present other scenarios — including hiring one architect and contractor for the police station and a separate architect and contractor for the fire stations.

"I think the fire and the police need to be separated," said Councilor Dick Gordon. "We need to spread the wealth."

Gordon and other councilors were worried that local firms would be competing against much larger firms in other areas of the country.

Some local architectural firms only have one or two-man crews that could make it more difficult to handle the workload of multiple projects, the council feared.

David Wilkerson of Ogden Roemer Wilkerson Architecture of Medford said, however, that Jackson County bid the six-story parking garage and health services building separately. Those bidding on the jobs offered discounts if they received both jobs, said Wilkerson, whose firm is the architect for the county project. JE Dunn Construction, a national company with offices in Portland.

He said the city should bid each of the projects separately, but seek discounts if they're bundled.

The police headquarters and a parking garage are planned for Ivy and 10th streets at a cost of $21.6 million.

Fire Station 2 on West Eighth Street would be replaced at a new location so that it can handle multiple vehicles and multiple crews, Sletmoe said.

Fire Station 3 on Highland Avenue will be rebuilt and could be moved further to the south, away from a roundabout.

Fire Station 4 on Table Rock Road will be rebuilt with an expanded drive-through bay and a larger living quarters and office area.

The city will pay for the projects, along with a $6 million upgrade at U.S. Cellular Park, through $38 million in 30-year bonds that will be paid off through utility fee increases.

The fee increase will start at $2 a month the first year, rising over time until it hits $4.82 a month by the fifth year. Other existing fees, such as a $2.82 street fee, will decline during that period. The net effect is that by the end of five years, the overall utility fee would have increased from $49.71 a month to $51.79.

City staff proposed a type of construction contract that would bring together the architect, the contractor and the city into the process at the outset to work on the design of the buildings.

Typically, most project involve designing the project first then bidding it out to a contractor.

The city hopes to seek proposals from contractors and architects in the first few months of 2014. Design would take place from May 2014 to January 2015. Construction would take place from March 2014 to April 2016.

Councilor Chris Corcoran said he would hope local architects could get together and bid on the projects together so that local firms get a piece of the pie.

But he said he also wants to make sure taxpayers are getting the best value.

"How are we going to get the most bang for their buck?" he asked.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.