Watkins Architect and Lyons Fire Company celebrated the grand re-opening of the new kitchen and dining rooms for the Lyons Fire Company Social Club with a ribbon cutting last month.

“Volunteer fire companies are facing more and more challenges every year. They are required to maintain more certifications, do more training, purchase new equipment, and maintain this equipment; all with increasing costs that is required for these items to be operated. Tax dollars and grant money is increasingly hard to come by,” John Watkins of Watkins Architect Ltd said about the fire company’s new Social Club Hall.

Watkins Architect and Lyons Fire Company worked together in designing, and with the help of Dolan Construction, in constructing new kitchen and dining rooms for the Lyons Fire Company Social Club, a process that started roughly seven years ago.

“The social halls are a key component to the success of many fire departments,” said Watkins. “Social halls and support groups are also facing problems with volunteers, outdated equipment and kitchens, and outdated spaces. In addition to that they are having competition from new restaurants in the community.”

Watkins said Lyons social quarters and Fire Company is a true testament to the word “community,” “which the meaning is quickly disappearing in our society.”

“It is my belief that if you know your neighbors and support your volunteers you maintain a healthy community,” he said. “When the day comes that firefighters, policemen, and teachers do not know the residents and work with them in a synergistic way, the sense of community is lost. And our lives are worse off for it.”

Watkins congratulated the Lyons residents and neighbors “for sticking together and supporting the great volunteers of their community.”

The existing Social club building dated back to 1941. In 2010, Watkins Architect worked with Lyons Fire Company committee members to create master plan drawings for the project.

“Numerous schemes were created along with budget pricing for each scheme. The schemes varied in their design from completely demolishing the historic building to minor and minimal work to the existing building,” said Watkins.

In 2011, Lyons Fire Company selected a master plan scheme and Watkins Architect started conceptual drawings, which showed more detail and started laying the building and rooms out.

“The drawings were revised throughout the year updating them until a final scheme was created.”

January 2012, Watkins Architect created preliminary drawings for the project.

“The preliminary drawings worked out most of the construction details and the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection drawings were created and reviewed by the building Committee members,” he said.

April 2012, Lyons Fire Company and Watkins Architect created construction drawings and the project was put out to bid to contractors in the area. May 30, 2012 was the bid due date. Contractors from around the area provided bids for both the social club project and the fire station addition also designed at the same time.

“The bids were not what Watkins Architect and Lyons Fire Company had hoped for,” sa according to id Watkins.

“Late 2012 through 2013, Lyons Fire Company and Watkins Architect refused to let the project die because the bids were higher than expected. The Group worked with a contractor on eliminating items from the project to decrease the price, at the same time Lyons Fire Company worked on securing a loan. After working and revising drawings it was decide to Re-Bid The project in early 2014.”

March 11, 2014, bid due date for the revised drawings. The drawings were revised and new bids were received from local contractors. This Bid produced the Winning bid by Dolan Construction, along with several other very close bids. Lyons Fire Company secured their loan with National Penn Bank.

“April 13, 2015, demolition was started in the existing building and the project was under way,” according to Watkins.

The project was completed and Watkins and the fire company celebrated the new kitchen and dinning room with a grand re-opening, with a full day of fun and ribbon cutting event on April 23.

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