A $369,000 bid has given Cole Architects, based in Downtown Boise, the inside track on a contract to remodel, relocate or rebuild four city fire stations.
A team made up of Boise Public Works Department and Fire Department staff gave Cole’s bid the highest score in a field of 12 proposals. The City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on awarding the contract.
The fire station projects have long been at the top of the priority list for the council, Mayor David Bieter and Fire Chief Dennis Doan. In 2013, Bieter pitched a bond measure that would have paid for them. It failed by a narrow margin that November.
Last year, Bieter came back to voters with another pitch: a $17 million bond that would pay for the stations and a new firefighter training facility but would not raise taxes. The city plans to cover the cost of the bond payments with savings from reduced contributions to a firefighter retirement account.
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The city hopes to break ground on the projects this year and have all of them completed by early 2018.
Here’s a video and breakdown of the projects’s details:
1. Build fire training facility on 17-acre, city-owned lot on Joplin Road near the West Boise Wastewater Treatment Plant
Details: The seven-story facility would allow firefighters to conduct live fire training exercises. In exchange for free use of Eagle and Meridian fire department facilities, Boise would allow those cities to use its training center, Doan said.
Why: Firefighters can't train with live fire at the Fire Department's current training tower, between West Shoreline Drive, the Boise River and the Connector, Doan said. They also can't use foam or other fire-suppressing chemicals, because runoff from the training center flows untreated into the Boise River. The new training facility would solve both of those problems. Training in donated buildings, which the city does, and attached arrangements of shipping containers, as some departments do, is dangerous and unhealthy for trainees.
Cost: $6.8 million
2. Replace, relocate Fire Station No. 8, 4422 W. Overland Road
Details: The station would be moved east to a piece of land the city has yet to buy.
Why: The Fire Department wants to eliminate Station 8's overlap in response districts with other stations and improve response times on the east side of its own district. Built in 1956, the station is nearing the end of its expected life.
Cost: $3.4 million (including land purchase)
3. Remodel Fire Station No. 4, 8485 W. Ustick Road
Details: Retrofit the existing station to make room for a ladder truck and four extra crew members.
Why: The Fire Department wants to redistribute its ladder trucks, whose crews specialize in entry to buildings, getting victims out of crashed cars and search and rescue. Station 4 has an ideal location for a ladder truck, Doan said, but it doesn't have space to park one or for additional crew members.
Cost: $2.8 million
4. Remodel Fire Station No. 9, 3101 Sycamore Drive
Details: Add a bedroom, bathroom and shower for female firefighters.
Why: When Station 9 was built, female firefighters were rare. These days, Doan said, the department must provide facilities for women. The station also needs structural upgrades to help it withstand earthquakes, according to the city.
Cost: $1.2 million
5. Rebuild Station No. 5, 212 S. 16th St.
Details: Build a new station in the parking lot just east of the existing station. The historic station building would be preserved for another purpose.
Why: Built in 1951, this is the busiest fire station in the state and the oldest in Boise, Doan said. That means it's outdated. Its garage has doors on just one side, so trucks have to back into it, which is unsafe, the fire chief said.
Cost: $2.8 million