First look at Derby’s new fire station

Derby Informer – January 18, 2017

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The design of Derby’s new fire station made its public debut at the Jan. 10 city council meeting and while members approved the look and function, they had lots of questions for the architects.

So many that they ended up spending an hour examining the artist’s rendering of the 20,842-square-foot structure and the site plan. There were queries about the windows, traffic flow, parking and an eye-catching tower designed to make it a civic landmark at the southwest corner of Woodlawn and Madison.

In the end, the council approved the design and authorized GLMV Architecture to proceed to develop construction documents.

The fire station is scheduled to be built in 2018 and replace the current aging Station 81, which is now at 128 W. Market. That property will be retained by the city, but used for other functions.

Derby has one other fire station, which is at 1401 N. Rock Road.

City officials say the new station is needed for a number of reasons, including being closer to where the city’s growth is taking place. Along with improving response times, it will avoid issues with the railroad tracks, which the current Station 81 has.

That includes traffic backing up when trains are passing by. The new station also will be able to offer the administrative part of the department adequate room.

At the council meeting, members said a close examination of the design was justified, especially considering the amount of tax dollars and the fact that this structure will be serving Derby for decades to come.

“This is a big deal for us,” Mayor Randy White said to the three-member team from GLMV who had come to city hall to make their presentation. “This is something for us to be proud of.”

Council members explained to the team that while they liked the design, they wanted to make sure taxpayers were getting their money’s worth from the $6.5 million project.

Relate it to the community

City Manager Kathy Sexton said the committee in charge of coming up with the plan realized that.

“This isn’t the Taj Mahal version,” she said.

There were things that were cut down to hold expenses in line, she said.

That committee had previously met five times to review drafts, discuss issues and determine the look and feel of the site and how it will relate to the larger community.

A move by member Chuck Warren to take a closer look at the tower and its cost failed, as fellow members felt like the plan was solid.

“I don’t see a reason to nitpick,” said member Cheryl Bannon. “I put my trust in the people who were on this committee.”

Added member Tom Keil: “I’m not in favor of slowing down the process.”

The design incorporates the whole corner and is far more than a utilitarian fire station – which is the intent.

“We’re changing the standard,” White said.

Costs so far on the project have been the land, which was purchased for $255,000 from the school district, and signing a $240,000 contract with the architects.

The property had housed the school district’s Sixth Grade Center, which has since been torn down.

The total cost of $6.5 million includes those two expenses, along with $5.5 million for construction, $70,000 for furniture and a $390,650 allowance for unexpected expenses.

Additional costs will be the expenses of burying the overhead power lines and to acquire artwork.

“Now that the design is wrapping up, the next steps are for GLMV to develop detailed construction drawings including engineering of mechanical systems and to spend some time to determine artwork options,” Sexton reported to the council.

Providing room for growth

A different aspect of this station is the emphasis not just on the building, but the whole property. In that regard, there will be streetscaping and public art placed there.

An electronic sign will be installed at the corner for community messages.

With the plan, Sexton said, there are a number of considerations:

• The proposed design provides not only for the primary station, including the department’s administration, but also for room for growth.

• The committee focused on durable materials that would result in efficient building maintenance and upkeep along with energy efficiency.

• The group selected brick, landscaping, rock and other elements to ensure some consistency with design elements at Madison Avenue Central Park and the surrounding neighborhood.

• Consideration was provided to enhance the safety and convenience of pedestrian routes in the area.

As for traffic flow, firetrucks will enter the station from Madison using Bulldog Drive and exit the station on Woodlawn, she said.

Sexton said other city officials, including Park Superintendent Mike Day and Public Works Director Robert Mendoza, were consulted to meet the city’s goals of improving the corner’s look, promoting water conservation and ensuring landscape management.

Along with Sexton, the fire station design committee included the city’s Director of Operations, Ted Austin; council members Rocky Cornejo and John McIntosh; Fire Chief Brad Smith, Deputy Chief Bill Pater and selected lieutenants and firefighters.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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