Fire Station Q&A

Here was a nice summary from the Fire Chief on some questions that came up about the new fire station.

  1. What was the process for the station? – In order to build this station, we went through numerous approval processes. First, the project had to be approved by the sales tax committee. After all the potential projects were presented, the concept of a joint fire, police, dispatch and EOC was rated the #1 project by the committee. After that, there were numerous other approval processes to navigate. These include, in no particular order, council approval, legislative approval, voter approval (to extend the sales tax to pay for it) planning and zoning, traffic (to allow us to exit directly onto Viola Road) energy commission, architectural review, architect selection, contractor selection and bid award.

  2. How much is this costing the Rochester taxpayers? The construction cost ($8.8 million) is funded by the sales tax. This means that this is not funded by property taxes and is actually funded by anyone who lives here or visits Rochester and spends money. Since we are the home of the Mayo Clinic, that means that many sales tax projects are partially funded by visitors. The cost of the land, other land acquisition, etc. was funded by either general fund money (property taxes) or public works funds. I would assume that the city, will at some point, will sell some or all of the remaining 4 acres to recoup some costs. If a business of some type locates there they will pay property taxes, have employees, etc. New sewer and water lines have been installed in the area that will help drive development.

  3. Why is the station so big for only three RFD personnel?? The funding was approved for this facility based on it being a multi-use facility. Here’s a quick rundown:

    1. Like our other stations, RPD, will have a presence there since there is office space in the lower level.

    2. The lower level has room for an Emergency Operations Center. Currently, the city does not have a “real “EOC that meets any sort of best practices. We have a temporary one on the 3rdfloor of city hall.

    3. The EOC has a large room for activations but a room that will see more use as a city and department meeting room and classroom. Currently, classroom space for city training is at a premium.

    4. The firefighter quarters has the typical RFD fire station amenities, kitchen, work out area, dorms, etc. There is room for six dorm rooms. Why? We built in extra dorm rooms to accommodate a future additional engine company. The northeast area is developing and the city has added water and sewer lines. We had a firefighter committee involved in the design process. We are simply trying to plan ahead as much as is practical.

    5. The truck bay is larger to accommodate a future additional crew and to have storage room for current equipment. As you know, truck bay space is always at a premium in a fire department.

    6. We are proud of our RFD history. As such, there is space in the station to display the Fox and other fire department memorabilia

    7. Adjacent to the “museum” area is a small conference room. It is separate from the station so that other city departments or community groups could use it for a meeting without impacting station personnel or compromising station security.

    8. The station will also house a future dispatch center.

  4. What is going on with dispatch?Currently, dispatch is located in the Government Center and has six positions. As RFD continues to experience 2% to 5% call volume increases a year, dispatch will need more positions. (Law Enforcement will see increased calls also) The new center has the potential to allow up to 12 dispatch stations. There is no moving date at this time. I would assume it will take some time to get a plan and funding together for this.

  5. Why wasn’t a floor put in dispatch? This was NOT a money issue for the construction of this project. We didn’t put a floor in dispatch because there is no final design for dispatch. This means there are no wiring and cabling plans. If we “guessed” and put conduit in the floor and then poured a concrete floor it might all have to come out for a new center.

  6. We did upsize the generator to a size that will allow the entire facility, including future dispatch, to be powered up in the event of a power outage.

  7. When will the station be open?? – Our best estimate is that we will move into the station in late June. This is subject to change due to the work schedule of the contractors

  8. Run cards – We have a first draft for Station 2 and will do our best to get it right. Since this is NEW there will likely be boundaries that will change after a few months of actual experience. We can then make additional adjustments. The message is, be patient and give us feedback so we can ultimately get the new run cards as accurate as possible. Run cards are never cast in stone.

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