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Study for new fire station draws criticism

By Ben Rodgers
Staff Writer

SUAMICO – There was debate on Monday, Jan. 15 at the Suamico Village Board meeting regarding spending for a study on a new fire station.

The village received six proposals to conduct a base needs study for Fire Station No. 1, which the village needs. The cost of the study is estimated to be $20,000.

This building would replace the current fire station which is located in Vickery Village, is close to 50 years old and has heating and lighting deficiencies.

The village purchased land for a new site from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. It is located on the southeast corner of Riverside Drive and Deer Field Lane.

“Basically we know we need it in the future. We know where it’s going to be,” said Michelle Eckert, trustee. “I think this is a waste of money. I don’t see why we need a space needs study.”

Steve Kubacki, village administrator said a comprehensive study would be beneficial in the long run, as buildings like this aren’t constructed very often.

“We want to make sure we get it right, and if you’re talking about a $2.5 million facility, $20,000 is less than 1 percent,” he said. “It is dollars well spent. If you’re going to be doing something you want to make sure you do it right and you do it well.”

Trustee Dan Roddan said he originally agreed with Eckert. But then he researched what studies like this accomplish and he changed his mind.

“This is a 50-plus year building and I think we owe it to the tax base to make sure we do it right the first time,” he said. “This is going to be scrutinized in the paper. This is a lot of money we’re going to be spending on a building.”

The study would focus on making sure there’s enough space for departments who use the building as well as technology in the building that will be effective decades from now, among other things.

There was also talk about county rescue using the space as well as law enforcement down the road.

Village President Laura Nelson said more information is better than not enough, especially with Suamico growing and more space being needed in the station.

Her example was when the new town hall was constructed and then an addition was required because that new space was not adequate in size.

“I say if we’re thinking of the size and scope Fire Station No. 1 is going to be, and meet the needs of the community and to be housing the entities it will be housing, then I’m thinking a space needs study,” Nelson said. “I don’t like spending that kind of money but it has to be done right. There are too many important entities, they’re lifeline entities. We have to do that right.”

The board approved sending on request for proposals from six companies in order to determine the lowest bidder.
Eckert was the lone vote opposed.

Kubacki said following the study ground will likely break in 2019 or 2020.

The majority of the cost for the building would be paid for by borrowing.

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