Thursday, 08 February 2018 09:45

Council approves funds for design of new Swift Current fire hall

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The next step of a three-phase process to construct a new fire hall in Swift Current will take place during 2018.


Councillors approved $450,000 from the 2018 budget during a regular council meeting on Jan. 29 for the development of construction ready blueprints.
Last year an amount of $79,384 was allocated to the first phase of the project and the architectural firm P3Architecture Partnership (P3A) of Regina created schematic drawings of the building.
“Phase one was basically a needs assessment and a very preliminary design about how things will work together,” Fire Chief Denis Pilon said. “How we get from say the quarters to the fire trucks when we need to go, and how we move around the hall and that type of stuff. So that was a basic design. It’s just really a rough sketch and a pictorial view of what we think it might look like. Phase two now goes into the actual design process where they're going to look at the floor style, how thick it's got to be, and what kind of electrical, the mechanical, plumbing, heating, that type of stuff would go into it.”
The creation of construction ready blueprints by P3A during the second phase is an important step to ensure the project is shovel ready, which will allow the City to apply for any applicable federal and/or provincial grants in the future.
A preliminary estimate of the cost of constructing a new fire hall indicated a price at around $10 million.
“That is sort of a stab in the dark,” he said. “There’s various levels of price estimates for projects like this. … As you get into the design, that price becomes a little bit more of a narrow target. So we don’t know right now what that target will be. We have basically said that from what our discussions are, looking at other halls, we’re probably looking in the $10 million range.”
The current fire hall is 105 years old, and it is the second oldest fire hall in Canada that is still in use. The new structure will be designed to accommodate future growth of the fire department, which currently operates five fire trucks, three trailers and a boat.
“The plan is to have sufficient room for two more trucks than we've got right now, which would lead us well into the future, whether it's actual fire trucks or other types of equipment,” he said. “The room is there, so it gives us some room to grow and expand as need be.”
The intention is to construct a new fire hall on the vacant lot at the corner of Herbert Street East and 6th Avenue NE, adjacent to the Swift Current Branch Library. The design will address some requirements for additional space that is not available in the existing building.
“Our classroom will be bigger and will be better designed so that we can use it for an emergency operations centre,” he said. “So if we have a major disaster that’s where we would operate. The City management would operate their support services out of that area.”
Another room might be attached to the building to serve as a community room or a second classroom, but it will not provide direct access to the rest of the fire hall. The design of the new fire hall will also include a museum area, where the fire department’s three antique fire trucks will be on display.
“This room would give us an area where we could put them,” he said. “People can see them as they drive by and if they stop at the fire hall they can look at them actually on display, but that area could also be re-designated as another apparatus bay in the future if need be.”
The proposed new fire hall will be designed to share the site with other emergency services in the future, but that will depend on what will happen with other proposed projects such as the Integrated Facility.
“The RCMP, both city and rural, are in need of new buildings,” Pilon noted. “So part of the discussion was that if the Integrated Facility gets built, would we look at the Colonel Clifton building and the library as being bulldozed and a new police service station there, and the police service could then link into the fire hall? So we’ve designed that with that thought in mind. … Whether it will actually happen or not will depend on a lot of things. We’re talking a lot of major projects that have to come together before all this really comes into the big picture like that – the Integrated Facility, the library closing, those types of things all have to work out, and until that happens that whole area will stay like it is. We will have a stand-alone fire hall, but it is designed that in the future if the opportunity presents itself it can be integrated.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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