New fire stations are popping up in several of the fire districts that cover Marana, Oro Valley and unincorporated northwest Pima County.
Five fire districts — Golder Ranch, Northwest, Mountain Vista, Picture Rocks and Avra Valley — are either in the process of building new facilities, have recently completed them, or are contemplating new ones.
Golder Ranch Fire District has just opened its 10,000-square-foot Station 377 at 355 E. Linda Vista Road, adjacent to North Oracle Road. The $2 million station consists of three double-deep, drive-though apparatus bays that will initially house an engine company and an ambulance. Six firefighters will be housed in the facility.
"This will be our first LEED silver certified station," said John Sullivan, community services division chief. "We're saving 12 percent of our energy by using a solar system to heat water, have photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, and use lots of natural lighting."
LEED is Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Last year, Golder Ranch opened Station 378 in Saddlebrooke Ranch, a new house built as a station with an ambulance bay.
"Robson Communities donated the use of the station for $1 a year," Sullivan pointed out, "and they also donated a station site within the community for use when Saddlebrooke Ranch gets larger."
Sullivan said Golder Ranch earlier this year completed remodeling Station 373 at 63735 E. Saddlebrooke Blvd. in Saddlebrooke that sustained previous fire damage.
"We gutted and refurbished the structure and expanded it to accommodate more firefighters," he said.
Golder Ranch has experienced considerable growth in the past several years, Sullivan noted, completing Station 376 at 10475 N. La Cañada Dr., in Oro Valley in July 2008, which houses an engine company, a water tender and a brush/urban interface engine. In February 2008 Golder Ranch opened Station 372 in Saddlebrooke Reserve, a two-bay, single-deep station housing an engine company and an ambulance.
Mountain Vista Fire District is in the midst of a station-building boom, constructing its Station 1 at 9310 N. Shannon Rd. and planning for Station 2 at 1176 W. Magee Rd.
Mountain Vista currently contracts with Rural/Metro Fire Department, leasing stations, vehicles, personnel and equipment to provide fire protection within the district.
Station 1, at 11,500-square feet, will house 11 firefighters and have 2-1/2 bays for apparatus and equipment. It's designed so an additional bay can be added in the future if needed. The structure is 80 percent complete, according to Scott Butler, administrative chief, and is expected to cost under $2.5 million and be done by the end of October.
Butler said Station 2, estimated to cost $4.6 million, will have three buildings totaling 21,183 square feet. The main structure will be the fire station at 15,072 square feet, comprising five apparatus bays, (three drive-through), bunk rooms for a dozen firefighters, a firefighter study room, physical fitness room, kitchen and dining room, turnout gear storage and cleaning area, and a battalion chief's suite of office, bunk room, shower and meeting room.
The second building on the Magee Road site, at 4,165 square feet, will be an administration building holding all district offices, while the third structure of 1,946 square feet will be a training building that also serves as a meeting facility accommodating up to 90 people.
Groundbreaking for Station 2 is expected around January 2011, with a completion date of November of that year, Butler said.
Northwest Fire District has several projects under way, the most ambitious being a $7.5 million, 12-1/2-acre fire training facility at 7381 N. Starcommerce Way, north of Ina Road and west of I-10. It will include a five-story training tower and two-story burn building, an apparatus storage building with office and training space, a satellite classroom, a pump testing and drafting pit, vehicle and LPG gas areas, a tank car, extrication area, and roof mockups for ventilation of commercial and residential structures.
Doug Emans, district chief, said Northwest is replacing two existing stations — Station 30 at 1520 W. Orange Grove Rd. and Station 32 at 4151 W. El Camino del Cerro.
"Station 32 is the most complex due to typography, and the building has cracks in the mortar of the walls, asbestos abatement issues and the trucks barely fit in the bays," Emans said, "so we'll have to completely demolish the old structure and abide by setback restrictions from El Camino del Cerro."
Northwest is planning a more energy-efficient station of about 7,000 square feet for the $3.3 million facility, he said, with three bays, single deep, and space for six firefighters. Northwest will apply for LEED certification and use solar heating in the apparatus bays.
"Primarily we run an engine and water tender from there now, and there will be room in the future for an ambulance if it's needed," Emans noted.
At the same time, Northwest is building a new Station 30 on W. Orange Grove Road of approximately 9,000-square feet, with three double-deep bays and room for 13 firefighters. Groundbreaking on the $4.2 million station is expected to be in October, with completed planned for October 2011.
The district purchased the adjacent property to the west, so the new Station 30 will carry an address of 6430 Pomona Road, which is where the truck exit will be located. Emans said the existing Station 30 will be kept for storage of fire equipment and some office space.
Picture Rocks Fire District recently opened a new station at 7341 N. Sandario Rd. that occupies more than 9,000 square feet and consists of three double drive-through bays, bunking facilities for six firefighters, four offices and rooms for training, exercise and storage.
Vickie Ketterle, district office manager, said the new facility is the district's primary station, housing two pumpers, two tenders (tankers) and two ambulances. Other apparatus is stored at the former main station at 6625 N. Sandario Rd.
Cost of the new station was $2.35 million.
Ketterle noted there are no additional satellite stations planned for the future, but added, "We have quite a bit of property at our main station, about nine acres, and other facilities, like training, maintenance and administration may be built there in the future."
Avra Valley Fire District has two stations — Station 191 located at Silverbell and Trico Roads and Station 193 at Estancia and Amber Sunrise roads.
Chief Brian Delfs said the district is considering additional station locations for the future, one to replace Station 191 in the southern part of the district and another in the Red Rock area.
Avra Valley Fire District, one of the few districts in the state that crosses county lines, protects areas in both Pima and Pinal counties.
Cakes, dedication at new Golder facility Saturday
A pancake breakfast and dedication ceremony for Golder Ranch Fire District's new facility is this Saturday, Sept. 25, beginning at 8 a.m.
The public is invited to the event at 355 E. Linda Vista in Oro Valley.
The new fire station is a 10,000-square-foot facility with three drive-through engine bays, living and dining areas, a multipurpose meeting room, office space, exercise room and six individual dorms. The new station is LEED-certified and with solar technology should save up to 15 percent on utility costs. It houses a four-person engine company and a two-person ambulance.
Golder Ranch Fire District serves a population of more than 65,000 in the communities of Oro Valley, Sun City, Rancho Vistoso, Catalina, Saddlebrooke and Oracle Junction.