The plan of the proposed fire hall #2 in Sparwood Heights. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)

New Sparwood fire hall to go to public comment

As part of the process for building a new fire hall in Sparwood Heights, public comment will be opened early next month

Sparwood Fire and Rescue is set to move ahead with plans for a larger fire station in Sparwood Heights.

The existing structure on the corner of Ponderosa Drive and Sparwood Heights drive, which was built in the 1980’s was intended to be temporary, and due to the size of fire fighting equipment is not large enough.

In a presentation to the Committee of the Whole, architectural consultant Linus Murphy of S2 Architecture offered up two options available for the fire hall: Add on to the existing building, or demolish it and start anew.

Both options had been vetted by the Sparwood fire chief and all firefighters, from an initial selection of nine design options.

Murphy recommended the option to add on to the existing structure, as it allowed for a larger building overall at a lower cost per square foot and allowed for continued fire operations from that site as construction was ongoing. Sparwood Fire Chief Dean Spry also indicated a preference to add on to the existing structure.

Council directed Sparwood Fire and Rescue to proceed with that option, which has a price tag of $4.6 million. Funds will come from district reserves which have been saved up over time to cover the eventual replacement of that building.

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks said that retaining the old building and adding to it was a logical choice.

“If you tear down the existing building we’d have no place to put the fire apparatus- we’d have to find a place to temporarily store the fire equipment. This way, we can work around that.”

While the council has indicated a preference, there are still further steps before the district pulls the trigger on proceeding, namely public consultation and any adjustments from that process. A public forum is likely to take place in early April, with a final study report estimated for late April.

After the district decides to go ahead, the project would have another six to seven months in design and tender processes, and a 12-14 month build time estimate for completion around the end of 2022.

The pros to the option of adding to the existing building include the re-use of existing building infrastructure, a smaller ‘new’ area but larger footprint overall, no phased construction and a clear main entrance, while cons were around internal design being skewed and the need to re-located the comms tower.

The other option which was not pursued – complete demolition and construction of a new facility – was slightly cheaper as it doesn’t involve any renovation, but had a smaller footprint, required a phased construction time and would require a temporary facility for use as a fire hall while under construction.

READ MORE: Centennial Square goes back to the drawing board



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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