by Kirby LindsayOn Saturday, May 15, from 10a – Noon, everyone can see the latest designs for the remodel of Fire Station #9 at an open house. Paid for by the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy, voted on in November 2003, plans have been underway for this remodel since November 2007. This year the architectural firm, Mithun, will finalize a design with construction currently slated to start in 2011, and to be completed in mid-2012.
Features of the New Facility
Christina Faine, Fire Levy Communications Officer, reported that the new facility will have over 8,500 square feet of space, compared to 5,730 in the current buildings. “One of the main goals of the levy is to have stations that are seismically strong,” she explained. The Levy funds upgrade, renovation or replacement of 32 neighborhood fire stations, with Station #9 one of 12 slated for replacement. All facilities will be brought up to current fire and safety standards, including meeting those mandated by the federal government and homeland security.
“There will be areas for decontamination,” Faine pointed out, “for clean-up of hazardous materials,” including chemical and biological. The new station will have space, indoors, for both the Fire Engine and the Compressed Air Supply Unit. Also, the new building will be outfitted with a generator and fuel tank, to allow the Station to be self-sustaining for at least three-days following a disaster. Five off-street parking spaces will also be created, behind the new building.
Designers have looked to create a 50-year building, for meeting the needs of fire fighters and the neighborhood into the future. The new facility will be able to accommodate the addition of an aid car and two paramedics, should neighborhood density require these services. Located half a block from B.F. Day Elementary School, Fire Station #9 serves a large section of Seattle that includes, but is not limited to, Fremont and ultimately, Faine explained, “the larger station will better accommodate the public safety needs of the community.”
Process To Plans
In the beginning of the remodel process, Faine explained, the Real Estate Services Division of the City of Seattle Fleets & Facilities Department reviewed 13 potential alternate sites for this Station. The current station is located on a residential street. Also, the rebuild will not only demolish the current station built in 1954, but also, most likely, a 1921 substation building that failed to receive landmark status last year.
Of the alternate properties considered, some had development planned, and others had access issues (as does the current site.) Response times – the amount of time it takes for a fire engine to reach an emergency within its coverage area – were the final deciding factor. Of the sites being considered, none had times comparable or better than the current site.
At an open house in January approximately 175 people met the architects, reviewed information on the artist chosen to provide art to the project and explored the current station. The open house on May 15 will give neighbors another chance to meet their fire fighters – and see how the plans for the remodel have developed. “It’s a unique opportunity to get to see inside your neighborhood fire station,” Faine suggested.
For those who wish to delve deeper, the Seattle Design Commission will review the design on Thursday, May 20, at 2p in a public meeting at the Seattle City Hall. Finally, to see one of the completed remodels done with Levy funds, Faine recommended attending the June 12 Dedication of Fire Station #39, at 1p.m., with Mayor Mike McGinn.
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©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.