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Suamico moves forward on fire station

By Ben Rodgers

SUAMICO – The new Suamico Fire Station No. 1 took another step forward at the Monday, Feb. 18, village board meeting.

“It’s one of the most expensive capital improvement projects we have in line for the next five to 10 years,” said Steve Kubacki, village administrator.

The board approved a space needs study that was conducted by Five Bugles Design, directed staff to prepare a request for proposals for architectural/design work, and decided to go with a construction manager to lead the project.

Troy Noe, fire chief, said the department had members serve on a design committee to work with Five Bugles on what the new station could have.

“Safety is and always will be priority No. 1 for the fire department,” Noe said.

Some features in the space needs study include drive-thru vehicle bays, chemical decontamination spaces, space for female firefighters and an exercise room.

“We looked upon this as a want list, a need list and wish list,” Kubacki said. “Ultimately what you have before you is a need list.”

The new station would replace the current fire station, which is located in Vickery Village and is close to 50 years old.

It is expected to last anywhere from 50 to 100 years.

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

The board’s motions also call for adding a space for County Rescue at the facility.

The board can then decide later if it wants to include the extra space in the final plans.

“I’m also a firm believer that when you have a site, having a space needs analysis isn’t really a great help unless you start formulating how those spaces are going to fit and interact on that site,” said Steve Gausman, principal-in-charge at Five Bugles.

The space needs study calls for 18,600 square feet for the fire department and 4,860 square feet for a shell that could be used in the future for full-time staffing space.

The estimated cost for this is between $5-$6.5 million.

The study also calls for 6,400 square feet for County Rescue and a price of $1-$1.5 million.

The village wants to have a cap of roughly $6 million for the whole project, which it could then fund without increasing taxes.

Trustee Michelle Eckert cast the lone opposing vote on all three motions.

“From the beginning we talked about building a fire station, I’m all for that and I stated it before, I don’t think EMS or the sheriff’s department should be in there,” Eckert said. “I think it should just be a fire station like it was when we began. This is our village department and County Rescue is private company.”

Kubacki said it would be in the village’s best interest to include County Rescue because some County Rescue employees are also volunteer firefighters.

“I think you should go with the fire department with County Rescue,” Kubacki said. “If the numbers come in at something you cannot fund, and we don’t have the financial wherewithal to do that, you can certainly make that decision. But if you don’t, I think 10 years down the road we could look at this and go ‘What were they thinking?’”

The village board also decided to use a construction manager for the project, that would be agreed upon at a later date.

The construction manager won’t do any of the physical construction, but can provide a guaranteed cost, and the process is transparent with every dollar spent, Gausman said.

“What I like about it is a construction manager comes on board when you’re at the very schematic stage we’re at now,” Gausman said.

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