New fire station plans progressingWORTHINGTON — If all goes as planned, construction on the new fire station for the Worthington Fire Department could begin by September 2011, with the fire fighters moving into their new facility in September 2012, according to a proposed project schedule.
WORTHINGTON — If all goes as planned, construction on the new fire station for the Worthington Fire Department could begin by September 2011, with the fire fighters moving into their new facility in September 2012, according to a proposed project schedule.
Worthington City Council members will be presented with the project schedule and the proposed schematics next week, when the Fire Station Committee will seek authorization to move into the design development and construction documents phases. From there, the project could move into the bidding phase by mid-July.
On the schematics, the new station will on the former Campbells Soup site and will have a footprint of 17,870 square feet. The building will have an observation tower, a meeting room, a smaller conference room, a kitchen, a radio room, offices and a locker room for fire fighters.
The bays will house all 10 of the department’s pieces of equipment, including the rescue rig, pumpers, the rescue boat, the grass rig and the aerial truck, and also includes a wash bay so trucks can be washed indoors.
The tower will give them training opportunities such as confined space and high angle rescue and the meeting room will allow for regional training space.
“Our guys are really excited,” said Worthington Fire Chief Rick Von Holdt.
The fire fighters voted by overwhelming general consensus, Von Holdt said, to proceed forward with the new station.
The downtown site is attractive to the department and the committee members for several reasons, according to Von Holdt and Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey. The location will give fire fighters rushing to the station better access from main roads, and once they are suited up and ready to roll, puts those same main roads within easy reach for a quick response time.
“It’s such a good place to respond from, and it will get us out to the college and that area quickly,” Von Holdt added.
“It also takes us out of that tight residential neighborhood,” Cumiskey said.
The building will also house an office and interview room that police department personnel can use, which will be especially helpful during blizzard days.
“We looked at a lot of things when we were designing this,” Cumiskey said. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do we make this building work for public safety?’”
After asking that question, they incorporated as much as they could without going overboard.
The estimated cost on the project is $4.2 million, according to Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark.
“Our goal is to keep it under that, and our architect and the group are keenly aware of that,” Cumiskey stated.
The committee has worked hard to strike a balance between accommodating the current needs of the department and having a vision of the future.
“We’re not over-building for ‘just in case,’” Clark explained. “But we’re designing a building that will be used for decades to come.”
“It’s just the right size for our town,” Von Holdt added.
Having visited a dozen or more fire stations during the design phase, reviewed the work of more than 30 architects and spent countless hours working on zoning and permitting, the committee members have done their homework on the project. The building’s outside décor will complement that of the downtown area, Clark said, but is being designed for minimum maintenance.
Some citizens have expressed concern that the station plans would remove a parking area lot located between First and Second Avenue on 10th Street.
That area is currently used for the downtown farmer’s market and for the beer tent during King Turkey Day festivities.
The schematics have left that parking area in place, so the new station should not affect the lot.
The project wouldn’t be happening if not for the sale of Worthington’s hospital, Clark said.
The funding for the fire station will come from the legacy funds.
When the city took on the remediation of the old Campbells facility, it accepted an $800,000 grant from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) which states the site must be used for a public purpose.
Peer Engineering is working with the city on the remediation plan for soil contaminated by past use.
“The footprint of the fire station isn’t on any hot spots,” Clark explained. “The remediation is not as big as it could have been, and we’re confident we’ll be able to move both projects along simultaneously.”
In other words, while the remediation is being planned and executed, the plans for the fire station will continue to move forward.
The vacation of a portion of First Avenue and Ninth Street is underway, zoning was taken care of and the next steps in the process of approving the fire station plans through the council are in the works.
“It seems like it’s all going to fall together at the same time,” Von Holdt stated.