Worthington City Council approves fire station schematicsWORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council Tuesday night approved the schematic design and construction document phases for a new proposed fire station, to be located on the old Campbells Soup site in downtown Worthington.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council Tuesday night approved the schematic design and construction document phases for a new proposed fire station, to be located on the old Campbells Soup site in downtown Worthington.
Buetow & Associates Vice President Randy Engel was on hand to go over the schematics of the building, describing for the council members how the building would be positioned on the property and what it would entail.
“It is a prominent location that is well-known and all apparatus would fit into the building, both current and those that can be larger and longer in the future,” Engel stated.
The plans include six bays with doors on both ends, a police substation with two workstations and an interview room, separate HVAC for the bay areas and a cost-effective pre-cast concrete exterior, with an estimated cost of $4.4 million.
Councilman Mike Kuhle said he was not against the project, but was “struggling a little bit with the cost.”
During a recent build on a fire station at New Prague, Engel said, prices came in significantly under budget, but with construction and gasoline costs going up, he could not guarantee this build would do the same.
When council members questioned the need for an observation tower, they were told the tower would be used for training and for the purpose of drying hose, as well as observation. The additional cost of putting in the tower, around $200,000, would be worth the effort, Engel stated.
Worthington Fire Chief Rick Von Holdt and Public Safety Officer Mike Cumiskey agreed with Engel, stating the tower was essential for hose drying and would offer unique exercise opportunities such as confined space training.
The large meeting room, which will seat 68, Engel said, would be equipped with high-tech connectivity, a ceiling projector and a SMART Board, and also serve as an Emergency Operations Center.
The load limits on the streets at the proposed location are sufficient for the large equipment, more so than the roads outside the current station.
With a revised schedule, Engel said he would hope to put the project out for bid by the end of June, with a due date of late July. Council member Ron Wood called it the “worst time to be bidding.”
Kuhle asked Von Holdt and Cumiskey how the new building would further public safety.
“We’re so crowded right now, something is going to happen,” Von Holdt replied, citing the dangers of a firefighter getting run over in the cramped building and mentioning the difficulty of storing apparatus at separate facilities.
“It offers a safer environment,” Cumiskey added. “You can have all apparatus under one roof, it’s safer for the public to take it off that narrow street, and you have a building that can be used as a regional training center.”
Rather than have turnout gear stored all around the trucks, the new facility would keep the gear away from the immediate vicinity of the trucks, but give the firefighters easy access upon entering the building.
When Honorary Council Member Marty Rickers said some people in the community had referred to the plans as a Cadillac building, Engel disagreed.
“This is not a Cadillac building — it’s built to last,” he said.
In other business, the council:
* Approved a motion to request bids for the construction of a three-unit hangar with a five-unit hangar as a bid alternate.
The council asked that the plans for a larger hangar unit be reviewed, as the unit was being built to house an aircraft with a wingspan of 54 feet, but a 58 foot door was planned.
“Oh, boy,” stated Worthington Mayor Al Oberloh, adding that his concern was that the unit be built and then not work for its intended purpose.
The particular unit is to house an aerial agriculture chemical spray operator’s plane, and he has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would commit him to an established lease rate for the portion of the hangar being built for his needs.
The monthly rent on the unit would be higher than that of regular hangar storage. Wood said he had a concern that the 20-year deal would not last more than two years.
“It’s a gamble,” he stated. “When he leaves, which won’t be in 20 years, we had better make sure we have another use for it… I’m not against what we’re talking about, I’m concerned we haven’t thought the whole thing through.”
Kuhle said the hangar puts Worthington in the position to be a prime location for an aerial spray service.
“After talking to area farmers, it’s clear that spraying is not going away,” council member Mike Woll stated.
* Approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance to change zoning in the central business district to accommodate the proposed fire station.