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Officials say firehouse plan looks good on paper PDF Print E-mail
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Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 18:29

Addition would offer more space for trucks, larger meeting room

Village of Fredonia officials got their first look at the proposed addition to the Fredonia fire station last week, although it was only a paper tour.

Gary Gartman of Quasius Construction and architect Eric Jensen of LJM Architects, members of the design team, served as the virtual guides, detailing features envisioned for the expansion of the station on South Milwaukee Street.

The cost of the project won’t be known until final plans are prepared and bids are received, but the consultants estimated that the 7,500-square-foot addition would cost about $1.8 million.

Secured offices, additional storage space and segregated bathrooms and dressing facilities are planned. All are lacking or non-existent in the current building.

A planned meeting room capable of handling up to 75 people would also be available for training, possibly including classes offered by Milwaukee Area Technical College.

A training wall that would allow firefighters to complete ladder practice inside when the weather is not inviting is also envisioned.

As part of the expansion work, the garage access for the fire equipment would be moved from the east side to the north side of the building. The six vehicle bays would be extended to accommodate the longer trucks now used.

That reorientation means vehicles will exit the station onto Park Street rather than South Milwaukee Street.

Village President Don Dohrwardt said attention should be given to the parking area reserved for firefighters.

“If you make the parking difficult, where the firefighters have to back in and turn around, it is going to cost them time, and that is something we can’t afford to do,” Dohrwardt said.

Assistant Fire Chief Chris Kunstmann said he appreciates the consideration being given firefighters, but downplayed the “every moment counts” strategy in planning the facility.

That would make the Park Street access workable, Kunstmann said.

“The firefighting you see on TV, with guys running off with their coats flapping and lights flashing, is not what we do,” he said.

“We are cautious and have to deal with traffic all the time now.”

Ultimately, Dohrwardt said, the preliminary plans show as much as twice the amount of parking reserved for firefighters in the new plan.

Fire Chief Brian Schommer was pleased with what he saw, saying, “I’m happy with it.”

“It has a lot of stuff we were looking for with room for future expansion,” Kunstmann added.

The design team said more detailed plans would be ready in July. If that goal is met, bids could be sought in fall and construction started next spring.

Village officials said a financing plan should be worked out so payments on the new building start in 2018.

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